Rec Me Friday: Green Lantern, The Animated Series
Rec Me Friday with yet another television show canceled before its time. There's no righting the great injustice that is a canceling an excellent show but hopefully, today's recommendation compels someone to watch this amazing albeit short series.
REC ME FRIDAY: *SPOILER ALERT* THE ROBOT FALLS IN LOVE
GREEN LANTERN: THE ANIMATED SERIES | Season 1Network: Cartoon Network, Canceled because Cartoon Network doesn't want me to actually like DC characters. They canceled Young Justice tooCast: Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jason Spisak, Grey DeLisleProduced by: Giancarlo Volpe, James Krieg, Bruce W. TimmPremise: Based on the popular comic series by DC Comics, this CGI animated series features Hal Jordan of Earth, one of the 3,600 members of the Green Lantern Corps. Each members wears a power ring which the user can apply his willpower to create anything he or she can imagine. Each "Green Lantern" patrols their sector of the universe, protecting it against any and all threats. Hal and his comrade, Kilowog, travel to the Frontier Sector to deal with a new threat: the Red Lanterns, who use rage instead of willpower to focus their power rings.
So, I know next to nothing about the Green Lantern universe. I only recall the animated Justice League's Green Lantern, John Stewart being the badass Green Lantern of my childhood. There's also the Green Lantern movie Ryan Reynolds starred in but no one should ever talk about.Otherwise, the Green Lantern comics or characters have never appealed to me. I don't particularly like computer generated animation either. However, Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favorite shows of all time so if Giancarlo Volpe's name is attached, it was worth it for me to at least check out this show.And I'm so glad I did! Green Lantern: The Animated Series has an interesting and throughly engaging story take isn't afraid to take dark turns. But it's really the show's character and relationship development that excels. I used a How I Met Your Mother quote (remember the good ol' days of that show?) to spoil Aya and Razer's relationship in the title and I'm sorry except not really because the couple hook you in as the emotional core of the series. Also, the 'robot (or emotionally detached human) falls in love' trope is one of my very favorite tropes and would encourage me to watch any show.The show centers around Hal Jordan as the human Green Lantern. Hal is impulsive, quick-tempered and a little reckless but he has his heart in the right place. He's the determined leader ready to always do the right thing. So when Hal discovers that his fellow Green Lanterns are dying in the unknown territories far off in the universe, Hal steals a ship and heads right into trouble.By Hal's side is Kilowog, Hal's best friend and the mighty Green Lantern warrior who much prefers to simply obey the rules Hal so often overlooks.Hal and Kilowag as well as their friendship is wonderfully written with plenty of funny moments between the two. The two Green Lanterns, especially Hal, serve as the rock of the show's team of space heroes by uniting everyone together. Hal and Kilowag are entertaining, no doubt, but they don't develop very much as characters. There's not much wrong with that fact because they serve their purpose well and this leaves more room to develop the show's other characters.At the frontier space of the universe, Hal and Kilowog find the Red Lanterns. While Green Lantern use rings powered by justice, the Red Lanterns rely on hate and rage to fuel their power. Razer is a Red Lantern who has enlisted in an army led by Scar, the big evil villain baddie determined to punish the Green Lanterns. After realizing the mass destruction Scar intends to inflict on innocents, Razer remains with Hal and Kilowog as a prisoner and then, begrudging member of the team.Razer is young, moody, and hotheaded but always there to provide some entertaining deadpan sarcasm. Actually, He reminds me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender 's Zuko. Both characters have their sarcasm, constant scowls, and dramatic moments of angst. Just replace Zuko's honor with Razer's grief over losing his wife.And like Zuko, Razer spends much of the series undergoing a slow and brilliant transformation as he learns to let go of his rage and trust the Green Lanterns as his friends.The ship Hal steals is equipped with a computer AI that learns to take form and develop her own personality and name - Aya. So as Razer attempts to let go some of his emotions, Aya gains emotions. She observes, learns, and develops feelings. Aya becomes much more than a robot or artificial intelligence. She develops a family/friendship with Hal and Kilowog and even finds herself falling in love with Razer.But a super computer going beyond its programming to achieve sentience and power never does bode well, does it? Adding in a fickle emotion like love doesn't help either.Soon enough, Aja enters into a descent of destruction when she realizes the fundamental flaws that come with life and decides to obliterate the universe as an act of mercy. Aja's story isn't anything new. The robot destroying the world as the logical step in fixing the world is something we've seen plenty of times. But the difference is, by allowing Aja to first grow and exhibit strong human emotions, the audience becomes emotionally attached to the storyline and Aja herself. Even as Aja destroys whole galaxies, the show manages to maintain a sense of compassion for her. She's not just another evil unfeeling robot like Ultron.Of course, the show is not without its flaws. Mostly in that there are a few filler episodes that seem really lack laster compared to the rest of the series. I'm thinking about the two episodes where Hal is separated from his friends and stuck in an alternate universe with steampunk technology. But watching the series' ongoing story arcs unfold, whether it be fighting Scar or Aja and Razer's developing relationship, more than makes up for the few filler episodes in between.I also felt like the show needed more female characters. There are quite a few female characters and all of them are strong and well written but Aya is the only recurring female in a group of males. I would have liked more of Hal Jordan's girlfriend, Carol.Oh and that computer animation I said I didn't like? I take that back. It takes a little while to get used to but by episode 5, the style really suits the show. It was really the colors that won me over though. The CGI animation utilizes some beautiful colors and it's wonder to watch.It's such a shame Cartoon Network decided to cancel a show with so much potential. But at the very least, the show closes with a good sense of closure as well as hope so the end doesn't seem so sudden.So, check out Green Lantern: The Animated Series if you want an animated show with strong story telling and great character development. With the ever present threat of death looming over the Lanterns' head, the show proves that it can be dark and serious but also funny in its moments of camaraderie. Also, obviously romantic at other times too. The show has a bit of everything and just offers some great entertainment, especially for the summer.The entire series is available on DVD.