Post a comment Now playing: Watch this: Netflix 50 Photos Wonderstorm If you can’t wait for the final season of Game of Thrones, The Dragon Prince might satiate your hankering for a fantasy epic show. Bonus: You can watch it with your kids. The animated series on Netflix magically, and effectively, checks off a lot of entertainment boxes. The tone wildly swings from silly to sad and poignant, yet somehow manages to juggle all the conflicting emotions in a charming, binge-worthy package. While it’s a cartoon, The Dragon Prince, like the now-concluded Voltron: Legendary Defender, straddles the line between adult and children’s entertainment. That’s no coincidence, as the showrunners of both also worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, a Nickelodeon cartoon that’s built up a massive cult following over the years. Share your voice 1:59 What’s streaming in February 2019 “Hopefully, it’s something you can watch more than once at different ages, and see something different,” co-creator Aaron Ehasz said in an interview at New York Comic-Con in October. The Dragon Prince centers around three central characters: teenage prince Callum; his younger stepbrother, Ezran, the true heir to the throne; and Rayla, an elfin assassin on a quest to kill their father. Complications and a key revelation tied to the show’s name band the unlikely trio together on a Lord of the Rings-style journey. To reveal more would be spoiling the fun, but here’re some reasons you should check out The Dragon Prince. Likeable, complex characters Seeing an assassin bond with her target’s two sons isn’t a dynamic you’d normally encounter in a cartoon, but it’s effective thanks to their natural chemistry. It helps that all the characters are really likeable. Rayla is a Moonshadow Elf assassin. But she’s got a sunny side to her too. Wonderstorm Callum starts off as the wisecracking lead, and Rayla the brooding one, but the showrunners wisely choose to spend plenty of time exploring the characters’ depth. Conversely, Callum goes through an intense emotional journey as the show goes on, while Rayla gets to be silly once in a while. Ezran is anything but the typical annoying 10-year-old, exuding a calmness and charm that make him easy to root for. “We try to find a balance between archetypes and tropes but also be original and authentic to the character,” Ehsaz said. Flipping the script Fantasy stories have almost universally had a European bent, so it’s refreshing to see a splash of diversity here. Where many fantasy and children’s stories position the stepmother as the antagonist, here the stepparent is a positive force: King Harrow is a wise, noble stepfather to Callum. Subverting fantasy cliches was one of the creative team’s goals. “There’s an opportunity to tell a story in a genre that’s been done a lot of ways, with characters that are more complex, that reflect the modern world, reflect a more diverse world,” Ehasz said. One of the most engaging characters is Amaya, Callum and Ezran’s aunt on their departed mother’s side. She’s deaf, and the show’s creators spare no expense animating her sign language. Subtitles don’t appear when she communicates, but you figure things out through context. She’s a general, and you quickly learn through bold action that she’s the most badass character, a fantastic example of the mantra “show, don’t tell.” Epic world building The Dragon Prince’s first season, which started last September, is only nine half-hour episodes. But it lays out an expansive world steeped in hints of history. There’s the unique way magic works for humans versus other creatures like elves. Years before the show’s story starts, humans used dark magic to kill the Dragon King, resulting in a detente between humans and elves, with each side occupying half the land. The second season, meanwhile, builds on that world, wisely using flashbacks to tell the tragic backstory of the previous generation of key players. Past mistakes ripple through to affect Callum and Ezran. Well-rounded villains There’s only one full-blown antagonist on the show, Viren, once the faithful adviser to King Harrow. But the dark mage has a somewhat understandable justification for his actions, even while they sink deeper into darkness as the show goes on. More entertaining are his two children, the dark, magic-wielding Claudia and her boisterous brother and crown guard, Soren. Both are tasked with retrieving the princes, and they walk the line between threat and comedy relief. Claudia, who often has to sacrifice creatures to power her dark magic, is particularly effective as someone who genuinely cares for the main characters, adding a satisfying level of emotional complexity. Fantasy, for beginners Though my 2-year-old is a bit too young for The Dragon Prince, I can imagine him taking to this show in a few years. I didn’t get into J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings until I was in junior high school, but this show gives kids a relatively safe place to get their feet wet in fantasy. Lord of the Rings this is not. New Line Cinema That’s not to say there isn’t death and some mature themes. But the show handles its darker tones with an impressive deftness. Adorable creaturesThere’s a grumpy toad called Bait who changes colors and glows. And he’s just the start. Trust me, your kids will love the creatures in this show. “We want to tell a great epic story with epic characters that we hope the audience finds funny and compelling,” Ehsaz said. You can catch The Dragon Prince on Netflix now. 0 TV and Movies 2019 TV shows you can’t miss Tags
Indian security forces personnel patrol a deserted street during restrictions after the government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar 9 August, 2019. Photo: ReutersKashmir has nearly 180 English and Urdu daily newspapers, but only five are publishing these days due to restrictions imposed by Indian authorities to prevent unrest after New Delhi revoked the state’s autonomy.That is frustrating for the region’s journalists, many of whom are veterans of covering a long insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and operating under prolonged curfews.”This is the biggest story of our generation and we haven’t been able to report it,” said Faisul Yaseen, associate editor of Rising Kashmir, one of the handful of newspaper groups that is still publishing.With phone lines and internet services suspended, six newspaper editors and journalists told Reuters they have no way to access wire reports or any outside online news sources, their district correspondents, and seek comment from government officials.Only five newspapers out of 174 dailies are now publishing, according to newspaper distributor Mansoor Ahmed, and they are being distributed within a 5-km radius of Lambert Lane, the main newspaper hub of the region, because of severe restrictions on movement, he said.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed the blackout after it stripped Kashmir of its special status this week and broke up the state into two federal territories aiming to fully integrate the Muslim majority region.Officials said restrictions will slowly be lifted. The big concern is there could be large scale demonstrations against the decision to withdraw Kashmir’s special rights to frame its own laws and lifting of a ban on people from outside the region buying property.An Indian foreign ministry spokesman said there was no restriction on the press.”Nobody has been prohibited or stopped from publishing anything. Now, because of logistical constraints if they are not able to publish it is a different matter,” the spokesman said.Usually a 12-page edition, the Rising Kashmir English daily is now only bringing out four pages, much of it sourced from a few national TV news channels and four reporters who have living and working from Rising Kashmir’s office.The final layout of the paper is hand-delivered to the press on the outskirts of the city in the evening when movement restrictions in some parts are slightly relaxed.Two other Rising Kashmir newspapers – one in Urdu, another in Kashmiri – that the group publishes are suspended.Within Srinagar, reporters and photographers are finding it difficult to work without any passes to go through security checkpoints.Editors of two Urdu newspapers in Srinagar said they had ceased publication because of a lack of news sources, movement restrictions, and staff being unable to reach the newsroom.”Even in the worst of times, the press were given curfew passes,” said Morifat Qadri, executive editor of the Daily Afaaq, which usually prints 4,000 copies daily.”They don’t want that anybody covers the current situation,” he said.