TV Show Review: Mysticons [Pilot]
Mysticons is the newest Nickelodeon cartoon, planned to air August 8th. The first episode is currently available for free on demand before the actual premiere, which will be followed by one new episode every day for the week. Mysticons was created by Sean Jara (Ben 10, Max Steel, Degrassi: The Next Generation) and stars Alyson Court as Arkayna, Evany Rosen as Em, Nicki Burke as Zarya, and Ana Sani as Piper.
Mysticons takes place in a fictional world that’s a blend of futuristic utopia and medieval fantasy. This world has a legend, the legend of heroes known as Mysticons who are something between Dungeons and Dragons original characters and Sailor Senshi from Sailor Moon. The Mysticons are said to save the world from evil whenever the need arises. When danger strikes, four very different girls are chosen by the Dragon Disk to become Mysticons and save the day.
When I saw the commercials for this show, I was sure it would be terrible. Most Nick cartoons these days have not impressed me at all. Even my childhood favorite, Fairly Oddparents, has been reduced to mindless and unfunny garbage. The only light in the darkness recently has been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which is on its last season) and The Loud House. Well now, there is a third light. I cannot express how happy I was that I enjoyed this episode.
When the episode first begins, there is a long “God’s eye” shot of the city, flying through many mediocre looking CGI vehicles past flat 2D animated characters. At this point I thought it could only get worse, but I’m glad I didn’t change the channel. As the show goes on, I was captivated by incredible looking backgrounds and very unique character designs. In particular, I loved the background in the villain’s base, it looked like it could have been hand drawn.
The plot is simple, just a means to get the origin story over with, but the world they setup was so creative that I really didn’t mind the simplicity and cliché of a “magical girl” story. What this show needs to be successful is good characters, and I personally loved the characters so far. My favorite was Piper, who is this airheaded, energetic girl. She’s a lot like Michelangelo from TMNT or Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony. Really, every character was very well done, and I really enjoyed the fantasy races being incorporated. Piper is an elf, and Em is a dwarf (female dwarves are just short, I guess).
When the girls get their Mysticon powers, you can see how Dungeons and Dragons-esque the creators went. Each girl has their own class (mage, ranger, etc.) and they get these vibrant magical girl outfits. The main villain, a mysterious hooded woman, has a lot of potential and I cannot wait to see more of her, even if her “NOOOOO” was very exaggerated and ridiculous. I also appreciated that the show was willing to be a little dark, which I don’t want to spoil.
Now, this show isn’t perfect, even if I enjoyed it very much. There are a few glaring issues that I really hope is improved overtime. One small annoyance is how many of the characters talk with a not-so-hip modern slang. Mentions of Emoji’s, selfies, haters, and the like are all present here. Even though Piper was my favorite so far, she was the brunt of these lame references. Onto a bigger issue I had, the show is clearly meant to show how badass girls are, which is awesome, but not when almost every male in the show is useless, incompetent, a jerk, or all three. There aren’t too many men to begin with, but the few there are just aren’t good. The only one I really think can be a good character is Malvaron, an Astromancer who helps the girls be Mysticons. Arkayna’s steb-brother was a snobby, preppy moron who was basically everything wrong with a show trying to be savvy with modern culture. I get that he was supposed to be unlikeable and cause friction, but there are better ways to have someone like that. Most importantly, he was useless. He really did nothing to push the story along, until the end, so I guess we won’t know how vital he is until the show continues. Arkayna’s step-father really did nothing either, but at least he wasn’t a jerk or stupid. Without spoiling, something happens to him that Arkayna does not react to at all, which I felt was pretty odd, even if we don’t fully know her relationship with him. I just feel like something should have been done to acknowledge what happens to him. I’m also not a fan of the animal people walking around in the show. It’s clearly taking influence from various anime’s which do the same thing, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.
Overall, I am very enthusiastic about this show, and I hope it stays consistent with the quality of this pilot, or better. I can see this show either being a huge success, or a smashing failure. Being created by Playmates Toys and Topps, we can probably expect plenty of action figures and trading cards in the near future. I only hope that makes it successful. I would love to see this become a big franchise, with roleplaying games, videogames, books, or at least a great card game. This episode presented the potential for a very imaginative, fun, wacky, and thrilling show. I cannot wait to see more of this, and I hope it becomes a flagship program for Nickelodeon, which is currently being left in the dust by Disney XD’s gold mine of current content. If you like Sailor Moon, Madoka Magica, Dungeons and Dragons, or just fun fantasy adventures, this is definitely a show worth giving a try!