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Chima TV Series Review: Season 1: Episodes 1-20

Featured chima tv series review commentary

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#1 Offline fishers64

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Posted May 02 2014 - 11:47 PM

Season 1
Episode 1
I liked the opening to this one very intense with the battle and invasion. Wished that they had done more with the kidnapping of Eris it kind of felt forced, and was resolved too quickly I thought. Friends turned enemies trope going on. I kind of felt that Cragger was put up to the Chi theft by his parents, especially given their reaction after the Lions stood up for what was going on. This also could explain why Cragger cut his parents loose at the end of the episode. Still, the Chi thing going on could have driven him mad as well. If just had a little Chi. is ridiculous though.
Episode 2
The sudden appearance of the Legend Beast struck me as a bit of a mistake it should have been left as a mystery for a bit longer. I like Lavals victory though, and also Eris comeback hopefully that continues to be a thing, as she was the victim/damsel in distress twice, and that is starting to get old. Lavals father strikes me as a Turaga-Vakama-style character the old wise elder with the thing for traditions and speeches. Episodes 1 and 2 mixed up the chronology on me, which is sometimes good for an opening, but can really be disorienting, especially here as they do it twice, which leads to a lot of repetition of events. The musical score in 1 needs help, but in two it really showed itself to be good for the tone of the series. 2>1, so the series is improving, but it suffers from seemingly contrived plot points like the Legend Beast.
Im getting the feeling of an epic fantasy story at this juncture, which isnt bad.
Episode 3
Ugh that theme song undermines the epic fantasy tone. Chima=/=Ninjago. <_<
Like the Mount Kavora possibly some telekinesis involved? Like the visuals so far the colorful 3-D animation is a true treat for the eyes.
Laval is a realistic character this episode gave him depth. Also like the action from Eris. Craggers sister oh boy she is evil (Roodaka). Gorzan was just plain dumb and that whole sequence made me yawn. Except for the wolf vs. gorilla fight that would have been funny, but the beam-crash at the end ruined it. Also dont like the unresolved Aesop that was just plain sad. Wolves so far have no character depth, but the ravens and rhinos got a scene, as did the bear. Particularly like the ravens depth theyre shameless profiteers (i.e. the Dark Hunters to the Crocs Makuta).
Episode 4
No, sometimes I let Eris ruin stuff too. Nice.
Felt that the road trip thing suffered from sloppy pacing and was really boring, but once the action started it started to shape up to be a good one. Did anyone else think that the Laval wakes up in bed was a shot at it was all a dream storyline? Glad that was subverted. Liked the Beavers a lot. Im hiring them for my next project lol.
Episode 5
At this point the show has settled into a pattern of Fantasy Aesop style storytelling (dur, the characters are animals :P). This can, and often does make for a good kids TV show (like Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat). It has its flaws: 1) that it can get boring and repetitive, and 2) the moral lesson is usually shoved in the viewers face, which sometimes precludes thinking for yourself about what they story really means. Sometimes thats half the fun of watching/reading, and so the story often needs another element to hold the audiences attention. For example, Sagwa was funny. This one doesnt seem to have any of that the jokes arent really funny, the action sequences arent cool enough to bring you in, and the mystery seems to be in the background and keeps getting undermined just when it could be interesting.
While Episode 5 could count as a deviation from what I just mentioned, it doesnt have any redeeming qualities either. The ravens antics count as mildly amusing.
Episode 6
Like the Eagles the scholars who use books as weapons.  Also Lavals rambling about the plan thing counts as a good joke the first of the series thats actually funny. (After the Eagles.) I sense the tragic scene between Laval and Eris could fuel a lot of shipping if it wasnt already a thing after Episode 4. :P
Episode 7
This episode just doesnt make any sense. Enough said. A random plot point spawned it for no good reason whatsoever. The partnership between Laval and Eris is starting to grow old.
Episode 8
Another contrived earthquake plot point. Good to see Laval working with another lion instead of Eris.
I think for what it is trying to be a childrens epic fantasy Chima succeeds. If you enjoy a solid fantasy genre with a dash of humor, then this is your show. If youre looking for sci-fi, Hero Factory may be more your thing, and if you want something that is a blend of the two that is plain flat more punchy, Ninjago is better. I find epic fantasy to be in league with Great Literature as a mind-deadening insomnia cure, though without mystery or some sort of tension/suspense. But thats just me.
Lets get home while your ego can still fit inside the Lion compound. There you go, Eris. :)
Also the shadow guy counts as a good mystery. He will likely be shoved off to the side in the next episode...
Episode 9
Lions in life jackets. How cute. :P
Also like how Crooler (Craggers sis) was marooned. Evil doesnt pay, kids.
Episode 10
Crooler reveals her true colors in this episode. Evil has revealed itself, and now were playing for real stakes.
The race for the Golden Chi plot point has grown awfully stale by this episode. Its just as well that its over. Who ShadoWind is has become more intense. Its a tragic episode, but with none of the weaknesses of the previous two, and for that I am grateful.
Episode 11-12
These episodes are actually legitimately bad (as in bad things happen). Like the scenes in between Laval and Lavals father.
Episode 13
Best episode yet. Actually legitimately funny. :)
Episode 14
This show gets better as it goes along, although it could just be the growing-on effect. No comeuppance for Lavals ego though, which I was expecting after 13. (Also a noted criticism: Laval's ego/pride flaw never really seems to get him in trouble. He has a lot of Marty Stu characteristics, since all of his flaws seem contrived, forced in, and never really hurt him too much...)
Episode 15
The Speedorz around Chima plot feels tacked on to the main plot about the Eagles and the Ravens. Does Laval have to be in every episode? Yeesh.
Episode 16
Like seeing the constraction sets in action. Also like Lavals stand-up to his father at the end (character development yay).
Episode 17
More character development for Laval. Dude seems to have a monopoly on that lately. Also like the Croc mystery reveal thing going on. Theres good food for theorizing with the Outland plants, the Gorge of Eternal depth, etc. The story has moved away from the fable style storytelling and embraced a solid continuity by about 11 or so, which is refreshing. Also wonder if the exile plot point will come around again, as the episode left it somewhat open-ended. I feel that if previous episodes are any indication, it will be pushed to the side and never heard from again. Seems that the series has come from a rocky start to a rather good epic fantasy. Theres some mystery going on, and some rather good character depth, which is key. Its centered on Laval a good deal this episode needed it but sometimes I wish there was more for the other characters as well, as anything beyond the stereotypes they are based on tends to come in fits and starts.
Episode 18
More mystery development, especially with the outland plants, ShadoWind, Mount Kavora, and the black cloud itself. Excellent.
Episode 19-20
Got to love it. Lavals fake death and everyones reaction to it was really handled well. I also liked the teamwork scene at the end. It hit all the right notes. The game has intensified, and were playing for real mysteries and real stakes, as opposed to the fable-esc storytelling of the previous stories. Definitely improved! Looking forward to the role that the bears will play in future story.
It kind of feels weird cutting off the story here like they did, just as it was starting to get good. Still, they finally fully resolved the conflict with Cragger/Wolves/Ravens, and for that, much applause.
Final Thoughts (Season 1):
This TV series, in my opinion, begins a bit sloppy. The first two episodes are out of chronological order, which makes for a good deal of repetition and makes it difficult to follow. Eris is poorly characterized in these early episodes, which doesnt help much. By the third episode, however, Eris is fighting with the best of them and poking at Lavals character flaws. 
I also found the first two episodes to have cheesy dialogue that seemed to establish that the main characters are stupid. This seemed to trail off as the series progresses, but it could be that I got used to it. Beyond those first two, I didnt pick up on anything too inane.
The next seven episodes seem to evidence that the writers were fumbling around trying to decide on the story direction. Basically its a lot of Cragger vs. Laval with emphasis on the lesson at the end of the episode, much like Aesops Fables (dur, animal characters :P) or Sagwa The Chinese Siamese Cat. It also tries to be humorous, like Sagwa, and fails all the jokes fall flat or seem undermined. For example, the fight between Gorzan and Worriz over the flower would be funny except a beam falls from the sky and the flower is crushed anyway. The show also uses a lot of repetitive plot points here most notably the race for the golden Chi. When Laval says that there is not going to be any more races for a long time, I felt relief instead of dread. It also uses contrived ones like the hundred year moon thing totally random and out of left field.
By episode 10, though, evil has revealed itself and real stakes are being played for. Crooler has been established as main villain, and the Wolves with their excess Chi are a real problem. 13 is actually funny, but I expected Lavals big ego to get a thrashing after that, and he didnt get it. 15 is a bit of a weak spot, but 16-17 gave Laval some really big character development, continuing the trend from 11 & 12. Laval gets the most character development over the course of the series, but the others do as well, especially the crocs. Its pretty clear that continuity has been established, with some real mysteries going on. I wont spoil them for you. Episode 20 has a lot of good emotional moments. I kind of felt that the story was cut off in the middle to a degree, with the conflict of 18 still up in the air, but the problems of the entire season the main conflict of it has been resolved in a very satisfying way.

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#2 Offline Reznas

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Posted May 03 2014 - 11:08 AM

This is spot on. I have to agree that the dialogue was Über cheesy the first couple of episodes. Realistically the dialogue was never really very interesting in any part of the season (I feel like the dialogue really improved in the second season), but you learn to get used to it. I feel like once it got a bit better, it really didn't hinder the series. The first few episodes also lacked good voice acting. I don't know how the voice actors magically starting speaking more believably and interestingly, but it happened, and I was genuinely happy.
Despite the show's weak spots, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was different, that's what made it so interesting for me. Considering I hadn't really followed the story line of LoC, the show brought me up to speed, and now I really do like the theme.


Great review, and again, spot on. :)

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#3 Offline dotcom

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Posted May 04 2014 - 09:09 PM

Hm yeah. I overall have a more negative opinion of this season/the show in general. After episode 14, which was replete with unfortunate implications and bad characterization, among other things, I just gave up on the show until about a week or so ago, when I caught up to the present.


All in all, I think this season was a meandering, cliched mess of half-plots, overcrowding, unfortunate implications, and poor writing coupled with endless over, under, and misacting from a thoroughly mediocre cast of voice actors. (however much whoever did Worriz was paid, it was way too much) I guess I don't disagree that as the series progressed, it got somewhat better, just...not a lot. It got a bit more focused, but still lacked overall direction, and as a result the season as a whole felt completely meaningless, and that's terrible.


Overall, there is a lot here that I disagree with, and I could probably spend all day talking about why, but I think I'll focus on episode 20, which you seem to celebrate as the series being the best it had been up to that point. I'm probably going to sound much too harsh, but sorry, this episode makes me downright angry.

I do not love episode 20. I hate episode 20. It's a remarkably bad episode, and one that reinforces several of the problems I have with this series--for instance, there's the whole "no hard feelings" attitude at the end (which Worriz would say verbatim next episode) and in general throughout the series--an utter lack of consequences for any and all misdeeds that just reinforces how meaningless everything that happened in this season was.


Putting that aside, however, the fake death situation overall is almost insultingly stupid and nonsensical---perhaps the worst offender in the series, and it's made worse by the fact that it happens so late into the series, when this series was supposed to actually be getting better and less stupid. I can't stress how terrible the fake death is. From its inception, the very idea that Laval would plan all that in advance makes no sense. Merely the thought that he could plan events to go that way makes no sense. That's strike one. Strike two is the supposed motivations behind it it--supposedly to buy time for him to get a legend beast. (I probably really should try to calm down before I continue, but, sorry, what the heck): I hate this explanation so much. It is the dumbest explanation ever given for anything, ever. Faking his death did nothing to prolong the fighting. There is no reason he would want to prolong it in the first place. And that's ignoring the fact that faking his death to look for a legend beast makes no sense because they had been looking. Nobody there didn't want the legend beasts to be found. They had looked, and looked, Laval included--there is no reason why Laval and the Lions would think "hey, let's fake kill Laval, traumatize his friends for a bit, and a legend beast is sure to come out of it!!!! logicz!!!" This entire idea is just. So. Incredibly. Stupid. 


And the worst thing about this all is that this isn't even the worst thing about it. No. The worst thing is that they don't even try to explain why he's still alive. "He was faking it" is as much of an explanation as we get for how he survived that fall. And that's terrible. No explanation they could have reasonably given us would have sufficed, but they didn't even try.


And to top it all off, this entire mess of nonsense that was the fake death was used not only as the vehicle of "character development" for Cragger (and let me just say calling what he experienced in this season a character arc would be an insult to the term....but that's a rant for another day) but, by proxy, the way they decided to resolve all conflict in this season. And that is a terrible way to end an arc/season/whatever. Finales are tricky by nature, but to do it this badly....it really shouldn't have come down to something as terrible and contrived as this. It's just so terrible.


So like...yeah. Sorry if I sound harsh. If I'm angered, it's because I really do really like Chima. I like Chima a lot...as a theme. I really wanted to like the tv series. I wish I could, but I just can't get myself to. Every time I feel I might want to start liking it (episodes 18 and 19 were pretty ok) it pulls something like the fake death and I just can't handle how inane it all is. I wish it was otherwise, but I think it just isn't a good tv show. And that makes me unreasonably unhappy. :/

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#4 Offline Lenny7092

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Posted May 18 2014 - 10:22 AM

I think the episodes are well done. The voices had done well, too. It's interesting that Crooler is the one behind Cragger's evil schemes to rule Chima. I feel sad that her parents never respected her because they saved Cragger when he was an un-hatched egg. Crooler seems to be very desperate to try to get her parents to respect her by causing all this trouble throughout the entire season. I think she becomes crazy in the season, too. I also find the season to be emotionally powerful because there are a lot of characters that have character development and the story flows perfectly. :)
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I like Lego, Bionicle, and Hero Factory!:)

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