By Todd Matthy
This Friday Netflix will release Voltron: Legendary Defender, a reimagining of the classic TV series I grew up with.
Voltron has a special place in my heart. It’s a mix of my favorite genres: Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and robots. Plus, (in addition to Robotech) it kickstarted my love of Anime. Personally, Voltron means much more. I was an “Assistant Editor” on the Media Blasters DVD. I’ll never forget when I went to New Jersey to look at footage for extras and discovered the long lost original pilot. I wrote an article for Protoculture Addicts about my experience.
To prepare for the new Netflix series, I’m rewatching the classic show and thought I’d share my favorite episodes with you. Click below and comment if you agree or disagree. (And if you want to watch a few of these episodes check out the Voltron You Tube Page.)
- Castle of Lions: The miniseries that started it all. You feel terror, humor, tension, awe, and joy within these four episodes. You tense up when fog is the only thing protecting the Voltron Force from Zarkon’s warships. The moment when Voltron forms for the first time still gets my adrenaline pumping because it was built up so well.
- The Princess Joins Up: This episode is here because Voltron gets his ass kicked. It was a true test for the team.
- The Right Arm of Voltron: Just when you were comfortable, the show takes out one of the main characters. Sure, Sven didn’t “die” but a main character being eliminated so early meant the stakes were high. It was the beheading of Ned Stark for children.
- The Lion Has New Claws: Princess Allura joins the Voltron Force, much to Coran’s chagrin. This episode introduced Nanny and the interaction between her and Pidge makes this one of the funnest episodes in the series. Plus the Princess gets a spanking.
- A Pretty Spy: This episode delves into Hunk’s character when he befriends Twyla, who escaped from the slave pits of Planet Doom and how evil Zarkon is when he turns her brother into a robeast in exchange for the slaves freedom.
- Yurak Gets His Pink Slip: Prince Lotor arrives and Yurak, the Voltron Force’s primary antagonist, gets turned into a Robeast.
- Give me Your Princess: Allura takes Black Lion out without permission and jeopardizes the team. Lotor issues the ultimatum of “Your Princess or Your Planet.”
- My Brother is a Robeast: This episode introduces Allura’s cousin, Princess Romelle and changes the tone of the series by setting up the continuing storyline of her imprisonment on Planet Doom.
- Pidge’s Home Planet: Lotor crosses the line when he attacks Pidge’s home world. The Voltron Force learns that just because they beat the Robeast, doesn’t mean they’ve won.
- The Green Medusa: Lotor forces a creature to become a Robeast against her will. When she meets Pidge, her motherly instincts kick in and she helps the team.
- The Sleeping Princess: Voltron’s version of Sleeping Beauty. This episode introduces Lotor’s mommy issues and is the one episode where Voltron is not formed.
- The Omega Comet Trilogy (The Captive Comet, The Little Prince, There Will Be a Royal Wedding): A comet with the gravitational pull of a black hole has come to Arus, Voltron travels to the end of the universe, Lotor casts Princess Romelle into the Pit of Skulls, and Sven Returns! A three part roller coaster.
- The Return of Coran’s Son (Return of Coran’s Son, Coran’s Son Runs Amok): An emotional two-parter where stuffy Court Advisor Coran finds his long lost son. What follows is one of the most tragic moments of the show when the reunion turns out to be a ruse perpetrated by Zarkon and Lotor.
- The Final Battle (Zarkon Becomes a Robeast, Lotor the King, Final Victory): The end of the first season. Lotor stages a coupt and turns Zarkon into the ultimate Robeast while Voltron invades Planet Doom.
- Enter Merla: Queen of Darkness: A stand out episode from the second season which introduced a major player and love interest for Lotor in Queen Merla. However, it is the honorable sell sword, Stride the Tiger Fighter, who steals the show. I wish we got more episodes with him.
- Fleet of Doom: As if the Lion and Vehicle Voltron’s teaming up wasn’t enough, we get some great character development for both Haggar and Keith. Plus, “Lotron” (Lotor’s Voltron) has a pretty cool design.
Note: Yes, these are all Lion Voltron episodes. While I’ve seen all of Vehicle Voltron (and it’s Japanese incarnation, Dairugger XV) I have not examined it enough to decide which episodes can take their place on this list. That being said, the show is very good and I will write a piece on it soon.