Childhood 2.0 – Voltron Revisited

One of the things “they” say about parenting is that it gives you a chance to be a kid again. If all the 80’s reboots of toys and series aren’t evidence enough of that, I don’t know what is. So naturally, when I heard about the Voltron reboot (a few years after the fact, as I’m typically behind the times), I got excited. I also wanted to relive the old series, while at the same time, introducing a classic to my own kid. 

I was overjoyed to watch her cheer on the Voltron force as they found planet Arus, discovered the keys to Voltron and formed the blazing sword to hack every robeast. I felt proud that she shared the same favorite male member of Voltron force as I did, Sven. I remembered my heartbreak as I watched her scream “Noooo!! Nooooo!!!” as Sven went down after the attack from Hagar the witch and her horrid Blue Cat. And as some compensation, it was exciting to watch her surprise and triumph when Princess Allura took Sven’s place in the Voltron Force flying the Blue Lion.

But there were things she experienced, as a child of this new millenium, I did not relive. And while I may not have relived these feelings, I certainly could identify with them as I rewatched parts of the original series. She quickly observed how formulaic the episodes were, how frustrated she was with how frail the Princess seemed, and kept insisting that Pidge must be a girl!

Now that she and I have watched the first two seasons, and are very eagerly awaiting season 3, I can’t help but wonder if the creators of Voltron Legendary Defender watched the original series with their children. Watching the first few episodes of this new series made me feel the same sort of wonder and fight off the urge to scream “yeah!! get ‘em!!!” at the screen, and it hasn’t stopped since. The episodes build on each other, there is certainly a fair amount of character development, and oh the diversity. If it wasn’t enough that the sole female character (or so we thought) in the show was a strong princess who can lead this team of paladins, it was ever more so that Princess Allura is now a dark skinned, no-nonsense, knowledgeable princess. The color of her skin was of exceptional importance to me, as my daughter has, for years, been keenly aware of how much or how little she looks like her favorite characters.

But to add to that, the excitement of learning that maybe, just maybe, my daughter’s inclinations were right. And somewhere, in the first half of the first season, we learn that the absolute techie whiz, Pidge, is in fact a girl!!! What a thrill! Even from the start, Pidge is the one character who usually keeps cool mind, strong focus, and who frequently saves the day with her technological brilliance. To the point that is makes my luddite self want to bow down and thank the Deities of Technology (and the creators of Voltron Legendary Defender) for developing this amazing character from a nerdy, acrobatic boy, to a brilliant, cool-minded young lady. I never saw that coming, and my mind was completely blown when it was revealed that Pidge was, in fact, a girl.

My daughter though, she knew it. And she ate it up!! Two female characters, with depth, in a series about defending the universe?? I used to be skeptical about reboots, because I love the original material, for what it meant to me. But if show developers continue to show this kind of growth on my beloved series of the 80’s, I say bring it on! And keep it up – our geekling children are depending on you, as are we parents, to keep kids’ attention and carry the geek torch to the next generation.

And even though the Galra (the bad guys) say it, I’ll sign off by saying: “Vrepit Sa!” Because it’s just so cool!

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