Wow did I hate this show. Reading the synopsis now, I wouldn’t think that’d be the case. Arthurian legend is cool. Merlin, knights, vikings, comics, all great stuff in my book. The voice actors were pretty recognizable for the time too. Better still, this had two story arcs with conclusions. What makes it so bad? Everything else, but mostly the animation.
The Legend of Prince Valiant is based on the Prince Valiant comic strip, in print since 1937. Valiant is exiled from his kingdom, dreams of Camelot, embarks on a journey to find it, makes friends, fights battles, blah blah. Honestly, if you could make it past the opening credits, I’d be impressed. “Where the Truth Lies” by Exchange featuring Marc Jordan (whoever they are) is dripping with 80s music sensibilities. Honestly, I’m surprised the last frame wasn’t an image of the title with the characters suspended in the air, fists raised high. That of course would require the characters to move.
I’ve seen better animation in a flipbook than here. Frequent camera pans combined with characters cycling between binary poses are used to convey motion. I use the word motion loosely. Characters, and the camera pans, move at a glacial pace, exacerbating the issue. Often the character models, all three of them, appear to be gliding. It baers mentioning that Valiant was created for The Family Channel, a network whose watered down milquetoast programming was so banal even Utah found it boring. I couldn’t imagine they’d put too much budget into this. Despite centering around swords, knights, and medieval fantasy, the creators managed to avoid showing any violence. Quick cutaways hide most of the actions. Then again, Family Channel, not sure what I was expecting.
On the positive side, the cast showcased a solid cast. Alan Oppenheimer, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Tim Curry, Rob Paulsen, Simon Templemen, John Rhys-Davies, and Wil Wheaton voiced characters. A solid list. Too bad the material wasn’t better.
To ensure this wasn’t a skewed, jaded memory, I rewatched not one, but two episodes (at random). Now that I’m older, I dislike it even more. King Arthur and the Knights of Justice was goofy has hell, but it still had a higher production value. And they had a guitar. Unless you’re that curious, I’d avoid this.
Did you even have The Family Channel in 1991? Were you a fan of this? Why? Comment below!
In addition to THN’s Saturday Morning Cartoons and Nerd at the Movies, Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell ‘em hi.
The list is dwindling.