Disney XD has quietly, and surprisingly, become a pretty interesting and dynamic network for animation. Yeah, it’s designed to carry the Hannah Montanas and Suite Lives of the Disney kiddie factory, but in between, there are shows like “Phineas and Ferb” and “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. Or as we like to call it “Avengers: Pure Unadulterated Continuity Porn”. Come on, this is a show that features a cameo from the U-Foes in the second episode.
But their best might just be their animated miniseries, “Tron: Uprising“.
First, here, have the full first episode: Disney has posted it to YouTube.
#6) You’ve Got To Admit, That’s a Killer Voice Cast
Well, maybe not Mandy Moore, but it’s got Frodo and Bishop. And they fight.
#5) They’ve Got Actual Screenwriters Running the Show, And It Shows
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the writers of “Tron: Legacy” and its upcoming sequels, are behind this…and honestly, this half-hour is actually stronger than the feature, although it staggers a bit at the halfway mark. That’s partially due to the fact that they’re not restricted by executive meddling or other problems, and can just cut loose. And it’s also due to the premise.
#4) The Premise is Essentially Bat-Tron Beyond
“Tron” is, deliberately or not, a religious allegory. Think about it: believers are oppressed, the being they believes in comes down from the sky and saves them, sacrificing himself and returning to his realm in the process.
This, on the other hand, is about a teenage hero being mentored by a former one, taking his name, and kicking some ass. So, it’s inherently snappier, and there’s no goofing around in the human world: this is all programs, all the time.
#3) The Art Style Is Its Own
If I had to describe it, the art style is a mix between Peter Chung and Tim Sale. The bodies have Chung’s elongated, distorted style while the faces have Sale’s distinct shadowing style. The animation is also much better integrated into the CG backgrounds, and there are nice touches like the Outlands being cruder in design than the cities.
#2) The Action And Fight Scenes Are Dynamic and Clever
The fact that this is hand-drawn animation really lets the animators cut loose. The fights in this show are genuinely fun to watch, easy to follow, and fast-paced. It’s an action show that isn’t shy about coming up with some genuine action.
#1) The Writing Is Actually Shockingly Good
Seriously, considering this is an attempt to cash in on a dormant franchise from an entertainment conglomerate known for grinding it out, there are some great touches here. Paige may be a bad guy, but she’s obviously more practical and less fanatical than Tesler. Similarly, Beck’s pretty competent, but when he starts thinking about the consequences of his action, he falters.
OK, so it’s not Shakespeare, but it’s pretty engaging stuff, and it looks genuinely worth watching. What do you think?