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Western Animation: Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders

Following in the footsteps of better-known shows such as She-Ra: Princess of Power, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders (known as Starla and the Jewel Riders outside the United States) was a Magical Girl show very loosely inspired by the Arthurian myths. It was created by Robert Mandell of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers fame, and even used some of the same voice actors.

Our story follows Princess Gwenevere (or Starla), the teenage daughter of Queen Anya of Avalon, and her friends Tamara and Fallon, as they quest to retrieve the Crown Jewels that keep the magic of the kingdom in check with the help of good wizard Merlin. The girls were chosen to be the Jewel Riders, and each has been given an Enchanted Jewel that gives her special powers: Gwenevere with the Sun Stone, Fallon with the Moon Stone and Tamara with the Heart Stone. Each girl also has an animal friend who can communicate with her, bonded with their respective Enchanted Jewel.

However, trouble strikes when the evil Lady Kale finds the Dark Stone and uses it to banish Merlin to the realm of Wild Magic so she can steal the magical Crown Jewels to bring down her sister Anya and become the new queen of Avalon, taking over all the magic for herself to rule. But Merlin scatters the jewels at the last minute, sending the Jewel Riders on a quest to get them all before Kale does.

By the end of the first season, the Jewel Riders win they are still unable to rescue Merlin. Season two picks up with Lady Kale meeting Morgana, one of the ancient Grand Wizards. Morgana, too, is trapped within the realm of Wild Magic and so she strikes a deal with Kale to help each other out and return with a vengeance. The Jewel Riders must now search for the Wizard Jewels, defeat their enemies, save Merlin, lather, rinse, repeat.

First airing in the United States in 1995, Princess Gwenevere ran for two seasons, with 13 episodes each season, produced by the same company that made King Arthur & the Knights of Justice. Some call it out as a Sailor Moon ripoff, but it's a cute series for fans of the Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior genres. It's obscure, but seems to have a bit of a cult following. It also heavily inspired the Avalon: Web of Magic series.


Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Fallon is the group's tomboy, especially when compared to Tamara.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Sunstar, Gwen's unicorn animal friend, started out as an outcast among the unicorns because she had wings but was afraid of flying.
  • Anachronism Stew: Aside from the usual Middle Ages confusions, their transformed costumes look like something that should take place in modern day, Lady Kale 'broadcasts' her voice as "Station K.A.L.E", while in a dream sequence Gwenevere runs into a modern supermarket and acts like it's completely normal.
  • Arc Number: Seven. There are seven Crown Jewels, seven (later eight) lands of Avalon, and seven Wizard Jewels (including the Dark Stone, which originally belonged to Morgana).
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the episode "The Faery Princess", Kale arrives in the land of tiny fairies and decides it's a perfect new kingdom for her to rule because of her giant size, so she attempts to destroy the king of fairies and usurp the power.
  • Badass Princess: Gwenevere (good-badass) and Kale (bad-badass and with a badass cape too) both are princesses of Avalon.
  • Bad Future: Episode "Fortune Jewel" involves one of the Wizard Jewels being able to see into the future, and thus revealing a possible one in which Morgana conquers all of Avalon (naturally, the Jewel Riders are able to prevent it from coming true).
  • Be Yourself: What the mer-boy learns in episode 21, "Jewel of the Sea".
  • Beast Man: Ian, the young prince of the Arden Forest in love with Gwen, is actually a werewolf-like creatures and only changes into a human.
  • Big Bad: The enchantress Morgana, who was the creator and original user of Kale's Dark Stone. Curiously, she has also an appearance of a dark elf here, while Merlin looks kinda dwarfish.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Gwenevere, Fallon and Tamara, respectively.
  • Blow You Away: Kale conjuring tornadoes with the stolen magic harp in "Song of the Rainbow".
  • Bond One-Liner: Gwen's "You are now as cold as your heart" and "She's stone cold" about Kale being turned to stone.
  • But Now I Must Go: Shadowsong in his self-titled first appearance, although he tells Tamara that she can just call for him if she needs him.
  • Bystander Syndrome: After he becomes human, the mer-boy decides that a sea monster is Tamara's problem. The other Jewel Riders eventually call him out on it.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!:
    • Does not apply to the use of the Dark Stone though, which works without speaking (possibly because Kale's always in her Jewel Armor after the first episode, whereas the girls only don theirs when needed).
    • Averted in episode 22 ("Trouble in Elf Town"), where, for some reason, they summon their jewel armor without speaking the transformation phrase.
  • Circle of Friendship: A running theme.
  • Conspicuous CGI: Any time it shows the area around the characters while travelling, as well as some of the cuts in the intro.
  • Darker and Edgier: The second season episode "Shadowsong" would like you to think it's this when Tamara thinks Shadowsong is dead, she starts blaming herself and her Heart Stone. This lasts for a only less than a minute before Shadowsong awakens and Tamara can now understand him.
  • Dark Is Evil: Obviously, that's why the Dark Stone has its name, also being the opposite of the Sun Stone.
  • Disney Death: Implied with Shadowsong; the result is still the same either way, fortunately.
  • Dragon Rider: Kale uses a big red dragon named Grimm for transportation. In a quite unusual way, however, as it carries her in a "dragon wagon" that she's sitting in. Grimm comes with a Breath Weapon but uses it very sparsely (and only on command).
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kale has a soft spot for including Grimm the dragon, even liking his evil bad smell.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Obviously. And there's even an evil princess.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Literally - even the cliffs of a desert canyon in "Badlands".
  • Evil Gloating: When Kale captures the New Camelot and takes the Jewel Riders' powers from them in the last scene of "Revenge of the Dark Stone", all she does is is showing off, then lets them escape or maybe just lets them go (what exactly happened before the next episode is not actually shown).
  • Evil Feels Good: Lady Kale quite often, with a small dose of the opposite too.
  • Evil Plan: Morgana's ancient pre-recorded message for the other evil Wizards in the episode 12, "Revenge of the Dark Stone".
  • Evil Twin: Lady Kale is the one for Queen Anya, which also makes her an evil aunt of Gwen.
  • Fashion Show: Episode 16, the appropriately titled "Fashion Fever", when Kale sneaks into the Crystal Palace to Hypnotize the Princess.
  • Follow the Leader: So much that many called this show a Sailor Moon "ripoff".
  • Fortune Teller: The episode "Fortune Jewel" is based around Esmeralda the fortune teller (and her magic jewel).
  • Freudian Excuse: Kale's evil campaign began when her sister Anya was chosen for the Sun Stone over her.
  • Frilly Upgrade: After gathering the Crown Jewels, the girls discover that they have been given new "Level Two" magical armors and new powers seven times more powerful than before.
  • Functional Magic: The show centers around it. Includes Magic Music in some episodes such as "Travel Trees Can't Dance" and "Sweet Home Heart Stone".
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Fallon.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lady Kale is furious over the fact that, as mentioned before, she was denied the Sun Stone by Merlin, thus losing the throne of Avalon to her sister.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The evil magic is red.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Both sides try to find and retrieve the scattered Crown Jewels, and then the long-lost Wizard Jewels in the second season.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Gwen and Kale swapping their roles through much of the episode "Dremafields" when they both are dreaming.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: At the end of "Sweet Home Heart Stone" Kale gets magically dumped inside an old tree trunk.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Sunstar is captured by Kale and held in exchange to the key to the Jewel Box, forcing the good guys to to do Storming the Castle in the second part of "Jewel Quest".
  • Hot Witch: Kale and Morgana, complete with Femme Fatalons and Excessive Evil Eyeshadow.
  • Hourglass Plot: The whole plot of the episode "Dreamfields", taking place in a Dream Land.
  • I Lied: Kale in the episode "Badlands".
  • Involuntary Group Split: Happens to the Jewel Riders in several episodes, such as "Wizard's Peak" and "Mystery Island", and to Kale in "Travel Trees Can't Dance".
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Spoken in "Trouble in Elf Town".
  • Jewel Riders Rock Out: Episode 10, however the scene in question just uses the opening theme.
  • It's Up to You: After Fallon and Tamara get turned into stone, Gwen/Starla and Sunstar are the only ones left to use the Wizard Jewels to create the One Jewel, bring Merlin home, and save Avalon from a Bad Future.
  • Kickthe Dog: Already in the first episode Kale is ordering Grimm to "fry" a pursued hawk and abuses an unicorn (which angers the girls when they witness it).
  • Lady in Red: The dresses of both Kale's and Gwen's (Kale-made and magical) in "Fashion Fever".
  • Large Ham: If you look carefully, you can actually see the gnaw marks on the scenery where Kale has chewed on it. That's including an Evil Laugh galore.
    • This including all the Pungeon Master stuff such as "Freeze me and I'm yours forever" and "Threy're bored to stiff" (in "Revenge of the Dark Stone"), or "And if anything happens to the [the sheep], you'll be in sheep dip" and "You're pixie dust" (in "The Faery Princess").
  • Lighter and Softer: Robert Mandell has a background in horror and even directed an episode of The X-Files. His two animated series, Thunderbirds 2086 and Galaxy Rangers, were sci-fi, action-adventure, and often shockingly violent. Jewel Riders has its dark moments, but it was much more lighthearted in tone.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The Jewel Riders are magical defenders of Avalon and have their equally young male counterparts, the three wolf-riding knights known as The Pack (who are however not much more than just sidekicks).
  • Magic Dance: Featured in the episode "Travel Trees Can't Dance".
  • Magic Misfire: Happens repeatedly through the series, often to Kale.
  • Market-Based Title: The international version of the show is called Starla and the Jewel Riders.
  • Meaningful Name: All over the place.
  • Merchandise-Driven: A line of toys was made for the Jewel Riders series, including action figures and playsets. This, again, is a contrast to its "older brother" series who only lasted a single season because they were not backed by a toy company.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Crown Jewels in the first series, the Wizard Jewels in the second one.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Sunstar is a unicorn with wings, and in the second season we get the zebra/unicorn mix Shadowsong. The dweasels are "dino weasels".
  • Mobile Maze: A moving hedge maze, complete with a living hedge monster, is scenario for the episode "Wizard of Gardenia".
  • No Honor Among Thieves: In the second episode there's forced and uneasy villain alliance between Kale and Morgana, who both want to rule Avalon alone.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: A lot, as the Jewel Riders and the Pack have their own, and so has Lady Kale (Gwen's Sunstar, Merlin's Archie, Fallon's Moondance, Kale's Grimm, Rufus and Twig, Tamara's Shadowsong, among others). In fact Kale appears to have no human followers whatsoever.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: "Nothing can stop me now" said by Kale in the frsit episode. Followed by This Cannot Be! in the finale of the first season as the "new Queen" Kale thinks she has won and attempts to seize control of the Crown Jewels, but her critical failure makes her shrink to a miniature size and then dematerializing her body into the Wild Magic.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: Lady Kale's, often complete with the Cape Swish effect on purpose.
  • Our Genies Are Different: The very cartoonish genie Guardian is a keper of the Hall of Wizards who plays a major role in "Wizard's Peak" and "Morgana".
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Lady Kale's stopping herself from taking a Crown Jewel the final scenes of "Dreamfields", prompting Gwen to tell her evil aunt there's good inside of her after all.
  • Outlaw: The Outlaws are a band of brigands featured in the episodes "Badlands" and "Prince of the Forest". Lady Kale is an outlaw too, after she was banished from Camelot for trying to forcefully usurp the throne.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Such perfect disguises as wearing a dress and using a false name were successfully used by Kale repeatedly, mostly to get inside the New Camelot and then into the royal Crystal Palace.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The girls have several, for special events.
  • Power Floats: Applies to Morgana and also to Kale when she managed to take over most of magic in the episode 12 and became really powerful.
  • Power Glows: Or at least the magic does.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Or at least Gwen/Starla does, but Kale's red outfits are largely pink-ish too.
  • Redhead In Green: Tamara, although she's more of a pink-haired girl in pastel green shades.
  • Real Stallions Are Pink: Shadowsong.
  • Shapeshifting: Lots! Besides Ian, there is also a shapeshifting genie guardian of the Wizard's Peak, the Jewel Raiders turn into mermaids in one episode, Kale magically changes into an older woman for a disguise, and (in the same episode) one of the ancient Wizards is permanently cursed into the form of a cat.
  • Shoulder-Sized Dragon: Sugar, one of Tamara's baby magic animals.
  • Shout-Out: One of the episodes starts off with a guest star who laments that nothing exciting happens in her town. It is an almost line-by-line recreation of the opening scene from Tom DeHaven's "Galaxy Stranger", using the same voice actress.
  • Solid Clouds: Merlin's Wild Magic refuge in "Full Circle".
  • Staying Alive: Lady Kale manages to survive being magically dematerialized and vanishing into Wild Magic - where she is then also magically restored, accidental courtesy of Morgana in her attempt to retrieve the Dark Stone.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Travelling in snowy mountains, the girls wear outfits trimmed with white fur.
  • Sword Fight: Happens only once and even then the swords are created by holding magical jewels, Laser Blade style but somehow solid. In "Fashion Fever", Drake and Tamara attack Kale, who outfences them both, and eventually drops Falling Chandelier of Doom on Drake, only for him to be saved by a rope-swing Gwen.
  • Taken for Granite: Getting petrified happens to Fallon and Tamara and their animals (temporarily) and then to Kale and her crew (pernamently?) at the end of the second season. All of the living things in New Camelot are cursed into suspended animation in the finale of the first season, and Archie turns into a crystal for a while in one episode.
  • Talking Animal: Vocally only Archie, Merlin's nerdy owl that is accompanying the heroines. Every animal bonded to an Enchanted Jewel is also able to communicate telephatically with its Jewel's user. In addition Tamara can use her Heart Stone to talk with all animals (except Shadowsong at first) and they can also speak with each other. The occasional humanoid animal creatures also talk normally.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Here in the form of Travel Trees that are creating entry points into the Wild Magic tunnels.
  • The Baroness: Lady Kale, whose dragon-themed armor even looks a lot like this of Baroness.
  • The Fair Folk: The fearies and their own Magical Land are the titular subject of the episode "The Faery Princess".
  • The High Queen: Anya is a very personification of this trope. Kale would be not so much.
  • The Power of Friendship: Then again, it's hard not to name a 1990s program for girls that didn't have this. But there's even a "Friendship Circle" ceremony performed twice in the first season alone.
  • The Power of Love: Concerns the second-season relationship of Ian and Gwen.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Rufus and Twig, Lady Kale's dweasels.
  • Token Black: Fallon. Officially, she's a Gypsy.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Jewel Riders' Enchanted Jewels and Lady Kale's Dark Stone, for their respective Jewel Armors (Kale's wearing hers most of the time, though), and Ian's jewel too.
  • Transformation Sequence: With the usual attributes of this.
  • Treasure Room: In the Crystal Palace there's the Jewel Keep room where all the recovered magical Crown Jewels are being safely kept (or at least supposedly, as Kale manages to get there quite easily). Another such room, the Hall of Wizards, is hidden in a cave labyrinth inside the mountain of the Wizard's Peak mountain and is visited by the both sides repeatedly.
  • Three Timer Date: By Drake, the leader of The Pack who usually hits on Gwen only. To be fair to the guy, it was mostly the fault of a wicked talking sword.
  • Under the Sea: Episode 21, "Jewel of the Sea".
  • Useless Boyfriend: The wielders of the Forest Stones, despite having badass wolf mounts, battle armor, and training, are usually not of much use other than as the local chew toys (but occasionally this wolf cavalry actually comes to the rescue, including in the final episode).
  • Villain Opening Scene: The show opens with the scene of Lady Kale finding the Dark Stone, empowering herself against Merlin and her sister Queen Anya - and starting the trouble in the otherwise peaceful kingdom.
  • Warrior Prince: Or actually a princess. Applies to Gwenevere as well as her mother Anya once too, as the future queens are given the Sun Stone to lead the current Jewel Riders for generations.
  • We Will Meet Again: As spoken repeatedly by Lady Kale in a variety of ways whenever she flies off after losing a jewel through the most of first season.
  • "Well Done, Daughter" Guy and Girl: Fallon's parents in "Badlands".
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Averted as Tamara's Heart Stone was just as useful as anyone else's jewel. The jewels all seemed to have the same abilities anyway.
  • Wild Magic: The source of all magic, kept in check by Merlin. With him being banished, Wild Magic is beginning to get out of hand in Avalon, causing destructive outbreaks.
  • Wizard Duel: Happens through the series (or at least this kind of a "duel" where the bad side is usually outnumbered).
  • Wizards Live Longer: Althrough it is never properly explained, apparently both Merlin and Morgana (and the rest of the ancient Wizards) are around for at least one thousand years.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Tamara has pink hair and Fallon has purple.

The Pirates of Dark WaterFantasy Western AnimationRainbow Brite
The Powerpuff GirlsWestern Animation of the 1990sProblem Child
PrezzemoloWestern AnimationThe Prince Of Atlantis

alternative title(s): Starla And The Jewel Riders; Princess Gwenevere And The Jewel Riders
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