Skylanders Academy lands on Netflix exclusively October 28, 2016 and includes 13 episodes as part of their season one run – we had a chance to view the first two episodes at a media screening prior to release.
The two part episode starts off with a young baby Spyro getting attacked by villains – Spyro wards them off and Eon arrives to adopt him and turn him into his star pupil. Spyro is an upstart runt who relies on his powers and flying rather than charisma and has a huge ego but most everyone in the Skylanders Academy seems to like him.
The Skylanders Academy cast is rounded out with Eruptor and Stealth Elf who are his co-stars in the show with Stealth Elf acting as the voice of reason and Eruptor as the silly clumsy guy.
In the first two episodes we witnessed Spyro as a slacker and irresponsible while Stealth Elf is determined and Eruptor comedy relief. The Animation is top notch and very authentic to the video game with lots of action taking place in and around the Skylanders Academy which looks like it was built directly from the Skylanders video game.
A difficult hurdle for most hardcore fans of the Skylanders video game will be is getting past the new voice cast – especially Spyro played by Justin Long and Glumshanks played by Norm MacDonald. In the first two episodes we saw plenty of jokes miss their marks as they were not germane to the characters themselves. Pacing is slow which could either help or hurt binge watching depending on your tastes. Animation is very polished with plenty of camera movement and activity on the screen much like the video game series.
In the first two episodes we met a cavalcade of Skylanders and were treated to plenty of Easter eggs within the show. A new Skylander called ‘Bad Breath’ appears in the first couple of episodes but could just be a temporary character made for the TV show who’s powers revolve around burping.
Kaos is back again voiced by the same actor from the video game Richard Horvitz and is always the highlight of any scene – his goal in the first couple of episodes is to steal the ‘Book of Skylanders’ which contains powers of past and present Skylanders as Eon has harnessed them magically into the book.
It is strange to see Spyro as the unlikeable slacker hero but we’re assuming that is part of his story arc and it is fun to see all the guest Skylanders who make cameos and some have speaking parts like Jet-Vac. In the first two episodes we didn’t see any Giants or Swappers (although Rollerbrawl and Wind Up from Swap Force had a cameo) and the trailer contains an Imaginator ‘Banana Head’ character finally we did get some characters from Trap Team like Ka-Boom and Food Fight. Also Eruptor takes control of one of the SuperChargers vehicles – so lotsa crossover from the different video games making their way into Skylanders Academy.
The Skylanders Academy trailer features plenty of villains like Wolfgang, Golden Queen, Chompy Mage and Chief Pepper Jack although fans of the current video game might feel some confusion since these former villains are now hero Senseis in the newest game Skylanders Imaginators. Speaking of — we’re not quite sure if anything from the show is ‘canon’ to the Skylanders universe as each character has a unique and fleshed-out backstory. It’s more likely that the Skylanders Academy TV show will be a fun and compelling companion piece to the video game although would love to see characters start on the show and eventually make their way into the game and in toy form.