This show is a triumph.
I’m of course talking about the Animated TV series from Nickelodeon and not the film adaptation from M Night Shyalaman who took every misstep possible and may have even hindered the series from getting the credit it deserves.
The series came out in 2005 to 2008. I was a teenager at the time who was driven by music and the only TV show I remember watching was Fresh Prince and I was more into movies anyway. The TV series passed me by and I never watched it…until Netflix distributed it last year.
My girlfriend insisted that I must watch it. Being an animated series, I was slightly ambivalent towards it, and didn’t think I might enjoy it as much as Better Call Saul which I had just finished after spending lockdown 1 rewatching Breaking Bad.
A few months later, and I’m not only hooked. I watched it twice and now a fully fledged fan! I would say it’s one of the best TV series ever made.
Where to start with my praise!?
First and foremost, the premise is undeniably intriguing to any family member, a world torn apart by war. And every episode you see the devastating impact that war has laid upon communities, of course in a child friendly way but it’s message is nevertheless profound. There’s also excellent takes on authoritarianism and censorship that are cleverly embedded in the plot.
Secondly, the characters are detailed, rich, and outright adorable. Even the antagonists are likeable! Every character has idiosyncrasies, hang ups and back stories that are well thought out and without giving too much away, there are several character arcs…one of which is just incredible. There’s a celebration of characters who are able to showcase their strengths despite disabilities and there’s a diversity and respect for a variety of Asian cultures.
Thirdly is the sense of humour and adventure tied in with wider themes. This show has proven to be an absolute tonic for me during a long drawn lockdown through winter and if you’ve not yet had the chance to see this show yet…I cannot recommend it enough.
Also you won’t be able to get this bop out of your head.
SECRET TUNNEL! SECRET TUNNEL!
Through the mountain…
Secret secret secret secret TUNNEL!!!