The Netflix Queue: Voltron: Legendary Defender

Voltron: Legendary Defender I never really watched the original ’80s Voltron, being as that it first aired the year I was born. So I didn’t even realize that Netflix was doing a reboot until my roommate—who did watch the original cartoon—told me about it and said, “Hey, I think you’d really like this.”

Being as that I love both science fiction and giant robots, I was more than happy to give it a watch.

Spoiler alert: Roommate was right. I ended up absolutely adoring the show.

Voltron: Legendary Defender is about five teenagers who find sentient robot lion in the desert and end up becoming the paladins for the legendary Voltron, a giant robot formed from five guardian Lions. They’re the universe’s only hope against Emperor Zarkon, a power-hungry dictator who’s spent ten thousand years conquering the galaxy, and Earth is next on his list.

Like I said, I never saw the original show, so I wasn’t coming into this with a lot of baggage or concerns that it would live up to my nostalgia. At the time, I was just excited because it was the first Netflix original show I could actually watch. (Many of the others—Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Sense8, etc.—are too violent/graphic for me to handle.)

Voltron Paladins: Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk

The saviors of the universe, from left: Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk

Voltron: Legendary Defender shares a lot of similarities with the style of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which isn’t surprising, considering both the show creators worked on ATLA and its sequel, The Legend of Korra. The animation style, the balance of humor and seriousness, and the ensemble cast are all things that ATLA handled very well, and Voltron does, too.

I liked all of the characters; they’re fairly well-rounded and funny and very much act like teenagers who have been thrown into a situation so far out of the realm of their knowledge that they are, literally, in another part of the galaxy.

For the most part, the show’s done a decent job fleshing out all seven of our main characters, though Keith and Shiro get most of the development, particularly in the second season. But what I really like is that they switch up which characters are paired together for different missions, so you get a chance to see a lot of different dynamics and really see how they all work together as a team.

If I absolutely had to pick a favorite character, though, it would probably be Pidge, because I too will threaten someone with dismemberment for touching my computer stuff. 😄

The only character I don’t love 100% is Lance, and that’s because the character who hits on every semi-attractive girl is one of my least favorite tropes. He has a lot of similarities to Sokka from Avatar, although Sokka was smacked into getting his head out of his ass much earlier, and no one has performed that particular role for Lance just yet.

Voltron characters

Our fearless heroes.

I also love the way that they balance the series. You’ll have a handful of serious episodes interspersed with the occasional fun and silly one, which keeps things from getting too dark for too long. It’s a hard line to walk, and I’ve seen way too many series that can’t handle it. Voltron does, though, and does it pretty well.

The first two seasons (season two came out January 20) are on Netflix now, and season three will make its debut later this year. If you haven’t seen it and this sounds up your alley, each episode is only about 23 minutes long (with the exception of the pilot, which is an hour). So you could, conceivably, binge-watch the entire thing in a weekend.

Trust me, it’s well worth the binge.

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