Reviews: The Mysterious Cities Of Gold

Is Season Two really that bad?

I must admit, I was born long after the series aired, and didn't start watching it until the past year or so. I first encountered the Mysterious Cities of Gold through the theme song, browsing through old cartoon intros.

I've always had a fascination with history and other cultures, and the story had me intrigued. I had to know more. So, I looked it up - as much as I could. And finally, I had the opportunity to watch both seasons one and two pretty much one after another. (I must confess- I watched season two first, then season one, and since have gone back and forth, rewatching my favourite parts.

One of the most common things that I've heard is "they changed it. It's ruined!"

Yes. They changed it. Considering the gap between seasons, that was inevitable. Both seasons are products of their time, each suffering from some of the more common flaws of their time.

That does not make either season bad.

If one gives the story time, lets it develop, one begins to see just how much love and detail was put into the second season. The creators have a very strong sense of continuity - where they've been, and where they're going.

In the first episode of season two alone, the attention to detail is so thorough, it can be missed at first. One can miss the freeze-frame bonus that is Gomez and Gaspard making an appearance. One can miss the appearance of Mayuca, the Incan from the City of the High Peak who told Esteban about his history.

And it's the Mayuca appearance that is a particularly nice bit of detail. Without spelling anything out, we find out what the kids have been up to, and get a very subtle hint about the identity of the main villain. (hint- ep 20 of the original series.)

And it maintains that sense of continuity and purpose. It doesn't slam things in your face, it simply has them - and it's up to the viewers to figure it out.

Near the end is a treat for fans of Season One. Nods and references abound, and it's here it sinks in that this is not a sequel, but a greater part of the same story. Things that you thought they forgot about make their reappearance. The characters make decisions based on actions that occurred in Season One.

There is Continuity. There is Plot. And it is magnificent.

Watch season one. Then give season two a fighting chance. Change happens, that is inevitable. But not as much has been changed as people fear.

(If the mouth flaps bug you, I'd recommend finding it in French. The dialogue is essentially the same, and the mouth flaps will be far less noticeable)