As a dad of two daughters, I am often looking for ways to get them interested into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). It is not just about coding or robotic classes but even the entertainment choices they make. Beyond that, I was looking for a show that we could all watch together and I would legitimately enjoy it. Hence, I was greatly pleased to find the re-make of Voltron on Netflix. The first episode got my daughters and I hooked right away. Later, being curious about our enthusiasm, my wife joined in for what became a family affair.
For those unfamiliar with the series, let me briefly explain its premise (die-hard fans move on to the next paragraph). The animated series center around five semi-sentient mechanical lions that are piloted by five paladins. While the lions can work independently, they maximize their strength when they come together to form a mechanical warrior. They are made of quintessence which is the most durable substance in the universe. They were built by the people from the planet of Altea and now are the main hope of the universe against the formidable Galra empire. The paladins are humans who left Earth to join the resistance.
Needless to say, our household was eagerly waiting for Season 7. The ending of Season 6 suggested that the next season would be about the paladins’ return to Earth. After six seasons in deep space, our brave heroes would finally reunite with their families and friends. For all its twists and shocking revelations, Season 6 left us wanting more. Yet, Season 7 delivered it. Taking the battle with the Galra back to Earth made it more personal and emotionally compelling while still staying true to the main story.
The season starts with the trip back to Earth. In this long journey, the paladins form a deeper bond with each other. Nothing is more uniting than drifting in space with little hope of being rescued. The lions continue to show why they are characters in their own right. In key moments, they come to rescue their paladins and reveal to them new powers and weapons. In fact, in this season we learn that connecting between the lions and the paladins can be so strong that their physical presence is not even needed to pilot them – it can be done remotely.
This season was notable for the number of strong female characters. Again, my whole purpose of watching was getting my daughters excited about STEM, right? We get to know a bit more about Krolia (Keith’s mom), Admiral Sanda (commander of the Earth defense force) and Lance’s sister Veronica who proves herself worthy in the ground fighting on Earth against the Galra. While most of the paladins are guys, the female paladins stand out by their intelligence and inner strength.
Unlike previous seasons, we do not get much access to the Galra villains. The main threat comes from Sendak, one of the few remaining Galra warlords now that Zarkon and Lotor are out of the picture. Most of the challenges the paladins face come from dangers in space travel. They face time bending showers, vicious beasts, and some Galra squadrons. The ending also did not disappoint. We now learn that Earth will be the commanding center of the resistance in the final stand against the Galra empire. Season 8 promises to be another thrilling, action-packed, emotional ride.
Finally, I was impressed by the scores used. They give an emotional quality to the series that is rare to find in shows for younger children. The return to Earth scene almost brought me to tears. I must say, it is a little embarrassing for a grown man to care so much about a kid’s animated show. Yet, there really is something for the whole family in it. The epic themes, interweaving plotlines, complex characters, and cool technology all contribute for a unique viewing experience.
The only critique I have is for the occasional filler episode that does not advance the plot. We had this in past seasons like a visit to a mall or the characters engaging in a role-playing game. In this season, the paladins find themselves in some type of talk show where they must answer questions correctly or be doomed to stay in the stage set forever. I get what the writers are trying to do but honestly it just feels out of place. As you are going through the season, you can easily skip this episode and not miss out on the main plot.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Do you enjoy epic Sci-Fi animated series or any of your children’s favorite shows?
Q2. Did you ever find personal meaning in these stories?
Q3. What can Sci-Fi teach us about caring for our planet?