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Reviews WesternAnimation / The Dragon Prince

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06/10/2019 13:44:39 •••

A promising beginning, but no end in sight

Most of the way through the first season, I was struggling to sort my thoughts out, and the comparison occurred to me: "This is the kids' version of Game of Thrones."

  • Both are set in milieus with large amounts of history and development.
  • Both have Three Lines, Some Waiting, splitting time between good guys, bad guys and Character Development.
  • Both are worlds of Gray and Grey Morality, where characters oppose each other but are not necessarily clear-cut "villains" or "heroes," and ethical ambiguity is prevalent.
  • Both have their share of fanservice. Now, the nature of the fanservice is quite different; where Thrones has sex and swearing, tDP has childish humor — even more childish, frankly, than that of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Both let their shows come to a halt for said fanservice on occasion.
  • Both have very slow pacing, to the point that the entire first season is essentially a prologue. (That's actually a spoiler for the final episode of tDP's first season, incidentally.)

So why am I so much less impressed with Prince than I was with Thrones?

Some of it is that fanservice. I'm just too old to appreciate blatant fart jokes anymore. Some of it is the uneven tone, with Prince lurching back and forth between cartoonish hijinks and moments of (genuine, earned) emotional pathos. Part of it is the season's incredible brevity; at only 3 hours, it's less than half the length of an A:tLA season, giving us less time with the characters. Part is the lack of world-building, instead focusing on character arcs. (It's not that I'm some sort of grimdark snob; for my money, Avatar is a better show than Game of Thrones.)

Fundamentally, the problem that I had was the show's lack of direction. Even when A Game of Thrones first came out, one book of seven, you could get a glimpse of the Myth Arc. Dragon Prince has no such momentum. This show has a lot of cool places it could go; but will it go there? Will it go anywhere? Even though an entire season has been released, I am as yet unable to answer.

06/10/2019 00:00:00

It should be pointed out that, as of the release of the second season, I am much more inclined to give the characters leeway, as the development on them has only improved since the first season. Additionally, the show has picked up definite momentum with another set of episodes in which to engage its wheels. I still don\'t think the show is as good as A:tLA, but I still recommend it without reservation.

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