Netflix original series/productions can be very hit and miss. For every “Stranger Things” or “Daredevil” we also get a “The Ranch” or “True Memoirs of an International Assassin”. That’s not to say that the latter two examples are “bad”, I actually like “The Ranch”, but they definitely haven’t had the cultural and commerical impact of the former. With “Trollhunters” we get something uniquely different and refreshing from the minds of Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro. Based on the book of the same name, the first season, which you can watch in it’s entirety now on Netflix consists of 26 23 minute episodes.
Coming of age tale with a sword.
Trollhunters follows the character of Jim Lake Jr. as he navigates high school and all that comes with it including test, bullies and first loves all while trying to keep his secret from getting out. Jim finds an amulet that chooses him to become the new troolhunter and defend the good trolls and human-kind from evil trolls and other creatures. The series provides a great balance as parts of both halves of Jim’s life start bleeding into each other and how he attempts to balance the new responsibility that has been thrust upon him with typicial teenage activities. He’s accompanied on his journey by his troll companions Blinky (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) and AAARRRGGHH!!! as well as his next-door neighbor and best friend Toby (voiced by Charlie Saxton).
Commitment pays off.
26 episodes for a first season of a cartoon is nearly unheard of in today’s industry. Especially, with a new property. For comparison, “F is for Family” another Netflix original only had 6 episodes in its first season. The voice talent assembled is also excellent with Ron Perlman, Jonathan Hyde, Kelsey Grammer and Steven Yeun as just some of the great ensamble cast that has been collected for the first season. Much like the “Nicktoons” of the early 90’s, “Trollhunters” offers something for viewers of all ages. The story is easy to follow, but still has elements and jokes that are directed more at adults. The violence, while ever present, doesn’t feature any blood (creatures turn to stone), and the overarching theme of the show is to do what is right no matter what.
I’ll admit that even as a man in my 30’s I still am a fan of cartoons and they don’t need to just be ones that are directed at adults ala American Dad, The Simpsons or Family Guy. Trollhunters has had the ability to keep my interest throughout the season and has me wanting and looking forward to a potential second season. This is one of the best new shows I’ve seen recently and because it is a Netflix production and will likely be online for a long time, it is something that I look forward to sharing with my child some day.
Image courtesy of Netflix.