July 12, 2012


Animated television adapted from theatrical fare doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. While the films might be worthy, the weekly adventures most often stray from the mood, style and artistic polish of their big screen brethren.  For every one The Real Ghostbusters, you get three Barnyard’s.  Dreamworks Animation and Cartoon Network aim to, if you will excuse the pun, tip the scales with their new series Dragons: Riders of Berk, a weekly extension of the popular How to Train Your Dragon franchise.  Earlier today, the creators premiered the first footage from the toon and described their ambitions for the project to a packed hall in Comic-Con room 6A.

Hit the jump for the details.

how-to-train-your-dragon-imageWhereas most TV adaptations follow a simple episodic formula with film characters punched in – Slimer is now a hero, Godzilla has been tamed – Dragons picks up right where the film left off and has a two season arc planned out that will link the first film with its’ upcoming sequel.

And if the animation quality is any indicator, Dragons could easily buck the trend and become a mainstay of Saturday morning.  While not quite on par with the stunning visuals from the feature, this series boasts some of the smoothest animation ever designed for the small screen.  On a non-HD television, I’m sure the series will be indistinguishable from the feature to most casual viewers.

And it will sound the same too as the showrunners have signed almost all of the main cast, including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and T. J. Miller to return with Mark Hamill, Tim Conway and Tom Wilson all joining as new characters.

The set up for the series is pretty well summarized in the title; Vikings and dragons now live in peace, which means the Viking culture must find a way to tame the dragons and develop new social structures.  The kids from the film lead the way.

dragons-riders-of-berk-imageAnd of course there are new dragons too.

In keeping with the various Pokemon incarnations of recent years, each dragon has a different type, with varying abilities, personality as special moves.  While each of the protagonists has his or her own ‘main’ dragon, they will encounter dozens if not hundreds of other breeds during their journeys and battles with those who do not want to see peace between humans and beasts.

Dragons has the look and sound of the movie and some of the clips from the show hint that it just might have the heart too. Cautious optimism on this one.