(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Tron: Uprising)
Doug (vo): It's the one season show, Tron: Uprising. This was one of those series that everybody was telling me I have to watch, it's so good, it's actually even better than that Tron movie that came out a few years earlier. And when I finally sat down and watched it...yeah, they were right, but it was kind of a slow burn to get there. But it kind of doesn't matter, because it's such an amazing-looking show anyway, with one hell of a voice cast.
Premise[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): A mechanic named Beck, played by Elijah Wood, is training under the original renegade Tron, voiced by Bruce Boxleitner, the Tron from the first film. They're under the rule of General Tesler, voiced by Lance Henriksen, who answers to CLU, the bad guy from Tron: Legacy. Beck poses as Tron, the same way Antonio Banderas posed as Zorro, to convince people that Tron isn't dead, that he's still as young and strong as ever, and a revolution will be happening. Some people have mixed feelings, like his mechanic co-workers, Zed and Mara, played by Nate Corddy and Mandy Moore, but every episode, the Renegade tries to take down this terrible dictatorship, and...yeah, that's pretty much it...for the most part.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Okay, how do I explain this? The first half of this season is kind of like a Monster of the Week show or a Home Improvement episode. There's a formula. Beck tries to do something to throw Tesler off, Tesler screams to the guards and tells him to get that Renegade, his mechanic friends always have a conversation whether Tron is good or bad and, of course, wonder why Beck is always late to work, and Tron always has some tough life lessons, rinse, repeat, nothing much to it.
(Footage of the two-part episode, "Scars", is shown)
Doug (vo): But for whatever reason, everything suddenly got interesting when a character named Dyson came in halfway through. He's played by John Glover, and you find out there's this past between him and Tron, and you go a little bit more into the history. And the funny thing is, Dyson is only in one episode. I mean, he might cameo here and there, but it's not like this one character transformed the show.
(Various clips focusing on the show's nine remaining episodes are shown)
Doug (vo): But for whatever reason, all of a sudden, the stories start to change a little bit. There's more conflict, more confrontation, more backstory, more people changing their minds, more people changing sides, some go from good to bad, some go from bad to good. We even get the story about how Beck joins Tron, stuff that I didn't think they were ever gonna answer, I kind of just got used to the formula. But in a funny way, that kind of made it more interesting. It's like in Avatar, when you got to the episode about "The Storm". Yeah, the show was good and there was a lot to admire, but that episode suddenly elevated everything to a new level, and everything after it seemed to just get better and better.
(Footage focusing on the characters, practically the show's secondary antagonist, Pavel, is shown)
Doug (vo): But even before then, there was still a lot of stuff that was very impressive, like I said before, the voice cast. Everyone is doing a stellar job. They're even taking some of these commonly used cliched lines that you've heard in a million other kids' shows, and make it sound so much more dramatic and important. I especially love Paul Reubens as this slimy second-in-command who's always the kiss-ass and always trying to get the credit, and, yeah, I usually hate these characters, 'cause they're so boring, but he just adds this psychotic life to the character that's so much fun to watch.
Pavel: (speaking to Paige) Seems like Tesler's on shaky ground. You don't think CLU's considering...demoting him? (Beat) Nah, me neither.
Doug (vo): Whenever he screams like a madman, he sounds just like Pee-Wee, but it doesn't sound distracting, it actually really helps the character out. Whenever he jumps around going, "Argh! Argh!", you're both kind of laughing, but kind of intimidated by him, too. It's just a great character.
(Clips focusing on the show's animation and visual style are shown)
Doug (vo): Something else that's also amazing about this show: the look. I don't know what the name of this style is, but I've seen it a lot, and I love it. I saw it in that Zema Blue episode of "Love, Death and Robots", I saw it in that "World Record" episode of Animatrix. And I feel like as technology gets better in animation, so does this style. Everything from the designs, the colors, the angles, this is a gorgeous show. I've honestly never seen anything quite like it, even though I referenced those other shorts and shows before. This is a whole new level, like going from Charles Fleischer's Superman to Batman: The Animated Series. Yeah, it's a similar style, but you can just tell everything was improved on, evolving it to something really unique. I usually don't get too into that style, where it's CG, but it's supposed to kind of look like it was hand-drawn, but you know it's still clearly CG. But here, it works, because it's supposed to look really flat, it's supposed to be very simple shapes and very sharp colors, and piercing blacks and wide lenses, and imagery that you practically want to frame with every shot.
(Images of the visual styles of the Tron movies are shown briefly, before resuming showing clips of the show's own visual style)
Doug (vo): It's funny, because the original Tron had a very distinct look. Nobody really saw anything like that. And then Tron: Legacy came along, took that look, and evolved it into something a little different, but you could still tell it was Tron. Now you have Tron: Uprising, who's taking the look of Tron: Legacy, also kind of doing something different with it, but you can still tell it's that same universe. I love how this art style has mutated so much, yet it's still familiar. You know what it is, you recognize it as Tron.
(Several clips showing the death scenes featured in the show are shown)
Doug (vo): I also got to say, for a supposed kids' show, there is a high-ass death count in this. Yeah, I know they just say they're derezzed or whatever, but a lot of people who are alive and conscious are suddenly not. Whatever you want to call that, it's pretty intense.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Which is why I wish the first half of this show would have more of a story and dialogue that would reflect that intensity, but I guess I shouldn't complain, because we do get that eventually, just halfway through. So, yeah, I still highly recommend it. If you don't really get into the story and characters at first, stick with it. It does get better. And if, for some reason, it's still not grabbing you, just admire the look of it. I really think this is one of those shows people are gonna look back on and say, "Man, this was ahead of its time, this was revolutionary, nobody was doing shows quite like this." Again, with the design and style. In terms of character and story, I...it gets there, it gets there. Whether you like the Tron movies, don't like them, like one but not the other, this is definitely worth taking a look at. It might be a slow burn, but it delivers one hell of a beautiful fire.
(A scene showing Beck running through a building hallway and crashing through a glass window is shown)