A big ol’ “Awwww”

Remember my concern that the Cartoon Network series DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk highlight the dragon Toothless and not just Hiccup, Astrid and the other teens?  I was pleased to report that the first two episodes did a fine job of showing the adorableness of Toothless and stressing how important he is to Hiccup.

Well, the “premiere” (which was actually the third episode, but the first to air in its regularly scheduled time slot—Tuesdays at 7:30 pm ET) far exceeded any hopes I had for the series.  We had a couple scenes reminiscent of the movie, including an adorable Toothless moment; followed by a wonderfully touching sequence showing Toothless rallying the other dragons to save not only the humans, but also the other critters.  Yes, I teared up, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

Now, I don’t expect all episodes to be so Toothless-centric; but for the time-being, I’m content.


Color me surprised!

I noticed my DVR was recording last night.  Unsure of what I was recording, I checked it out, and to my delight,  Riders of Berk had a one-hour premiere.    And here I’d been wondering what to watch on a Sunday evening.

The show was basically two separate episodes, so I’m not sure if these will be repeated later this week, or if they were something extra.  The first episode dealt with the unruliness of  the dragons, eating all the crops and setting buildings on fire accidentally.  The second explored blacksmith Gobber’s attempts to cope in a world where metal weapons were no longer needed to slay dragons.

Both episodes were cute and I found myself laughing out loud several times.  Perhaps my favorite moment was Hiccup telling Toothless that, among other things, Gobber taught Hiccup what he needed to know to make Toothless’s tail.  I was quite pleased how they highlighted the Hiccup/Toothless relationship.  In fact, all the other teens have grown quite fond of their dragons.

I was curious about the voice talent.  I was confident Gerard Butler wasn’t available (or too costly) for Stoic.  But Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and Tuffnut were voiced by their movie counterparts (Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and TJ Miller respectively).  Notably absent were those who’ve hit the Big Time, Jonah Hill (Snotlout) and Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut).  I was surprised Craig Ferguson wasn’t voicing Gobber, but he does have a full-time gig with his talk show.

But they did get some great “new” talent:   Tim Conway plays a dim-witted, silly Viking, and Stephen Root voices Mildew, the village grump.  And I see from IMDB that Mark Hamill is set to play Alvin.  I hope Alvin remains the “poor-but-honest farmer” introduced in Cressida Cowell’s second book “How to Be a Pirate.”  Oh, this should be fun!

(Disclaimer:  Way too many actors mentioned in this post to tag them all.  Sorry if I skipped one of your favorites!)

Ready, Set, Record!

This coming Tuesday, Sep 4, Cartoon Network premieres DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (6:30 Central).  The series is a spinoff of my favorite movie of all time, How to Train Your Dragon.  I’m so excited!

You may or may not know of my affintiy for dragons, and (Night Fury) Toothless is my most favorite cinematic critter ever.  I just hope the series is more like the actual movie than the short  “Legend of the BoneKnapper” (included in some DVD sets).  I attribute BoneKnapper’s mediocrity to minimal Toothless screentime, so as long as I get my fill of Toothless with the series, I’ll be happy.

If you’ve never seen How to Train Your Dragon, rent it it immediately!  Or better yet, buy the DVD.   You will not be disappointed.   It is the most delightful and poignant movie.  Everything about it is downright perfect.  Yes, it’s quite different from the books (which are also terrific), but it’s a wonderful story in its own right and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it (if not love it as much as I do).