ROCKS 17A: The Legend Of Prince Valiant establishing episodes

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE FIRST DISCUSSION IN THE SEVENTEENTH STRAND OF "R.O.C.K.S." - REWATCHING OLD CLASSIC KIDS SHOWS! A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    The next few weeks we're covering one of the best shows from the early 90s, The Legend Of Prince Valiant. This show had much stronger continuity threads than most, and so is difficult to distil down to the bare essentials. I've reduced it to a shortlist that still covers most of the first season. I promise you it'll be worth it.

    We're starting this week with the establishing story, which covers more episodes than usual - an unprecedented SIX episodes, which is the same as Thundercats (if you include Trouble With Time and Pumm-Ra as part of the establishing story, and I do). These establishing episodes are:

    - The Dream
    - The Journey
    - The Blacksmith's Daughter
    - The Kidnapping
    - The Trust
    - The Finding Of Camelot

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I loved this series growing up and fondly remember watching it after school and recording a few episodes.
    I even got a VHS with the first two or three episodes on it.

    Most people say 90's cartoons aren't as good as 80's cartoons. Whilst in some respects that might be true The Legend of Prince Valiant really is an exception as it is a brilliant series with great writing and a superb cast of voice actors.

    The Dream is a really great opening episode that sets up the characters and events which lead to Valiant searching for Camelot.

    The Journey is a really fun episode in which Valiant meets Arn. My favourite scene is their fight with the river monster.

    The Blacksmith's Daughter is one that really stands out in my mind as I recall watching it after school and loving the sword fighting scene.

    The Kidnapping, The Trust and The Finding of Camelot are a great bunch of episodes.
    These work very well building the characters and showing their quest to Camelot.
    The Kidnapping was a fun episode.
    I especially enjoyed The Trust with Valiant meeting Tor.
    Even the The Finding of Camelot had them in an adventure trying to get to Arthur to show him Tor's Ring.

    What a greats series.

    One thing I really must point out that I like is the absolutely beautiful paintings during the end credits. They are stunning.

    I am really surprised that no toy manufacturer in the early 90's made toys to support this show. I know I would definitely have wanted some.
    Perhaps they didn't think that toys based on medieval characters would have sold that well. But Kenner made Robin Hood toys around the same time so I think they would have sold fine.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    This is possibly the best cartoon of the 1990s, and it holds its head up there with the best that the 80s had to offer. I only ever had two or three episodes recorded as a kid, but always made time to watch it on Fridays at ten past four on BBC1. Great stories, proper long-term character development, and a theme song that you can enjoy in its own right without knowing where it comes from.

    Episode 1 - The Dream.
    Right away we know this is another great action cartoon. From the word go, the start of this episode is one pitched battle. Valiant and his parents are vanquished and driven from their kingdom by an evil ruler who wants nothing more than to conquer everything. Then, arriving on some foreign shores, our heroes' lives are threatened by Vikings. And then they are exiled to some strange land. And at that point the action ceases completely for this episode. But that's OK, we know we'll be guaranteed more down the line, and the rest of the episode is further establishing the character of Valiant, and to a lesser extent his father, and even his mother and Rolf. We see time passing, they build homes, and then the eponymous dream comes to Valiant night after night. Camelot. He doesn't know if it's real or not, but he has to look for it. So he sets off with high hopes, and his journey begins. We don't know quite where it's going to take him, but we know that eventually he's going to find it. The question is how long. I must admit I thought that this quest was going to take up the whole series the first time I saw this! In any case, a good solid start, Valiant's character is well and truly established, a fearless warrior but a little hot-headed and arrogant at times, but he's learning. I can imagine Lion-O working in a similar vein if they ever made a proper new Thundercats series. In any case, a fine start to what promises to be an excellent series.

    Episode 2 - The Journey.
    And straight away we see Valiant's optimism was a little misplaced, he is quickly realising that his journey is going to be longer than he thought. Here we first meet Arn - who in the original Prince Valiant comic strip created by Hal Foster was Valiant's eventual son, rather than a stray peasant without any family ties. He's a very likeable character here, the perfect counterpart to Valiant, who is so used to luxury, Arn wouldn't have a clue which knife and fork to use at a banquet. The episode is built around the two characters learning to appreciate each other's differing strengths, and forging a firm friendship, which ultimately results of course in Arn joining Valiant's quest. Again, a good episode. I think these first two episodes are unique in featuring prehistoric monsters. They were sort of filler I guess, they needed something and it works OK enough.

    Episode 3 - The Blacksmith's Daughter.
    As with Arn in episode 2, now we have Rowanne introduced in episode 3. While Valiant and Arn are chalk and cheese in terms of their backgrounds, Rowanne is quickly established as a very able individual indeed, with more awareness than either of them as to how both halves live. This makes Rowanne approachable to either of the young men, and they are both able to befriend her - especially Arn here, Valiant still has a bit to learn about humility! However, the real stars of this episode are the recurring characters of Rowanne's parents, and the Draconarius brothers, all of whom are voiced by familiar names. Duncan is voiced by Neil Ross (Leoric in Visionaries, Springer et al in Transformers, Shipwreck et al in GI Joe, and Overlord, Tank and Bandit in Spiral Zone), and Robert by Rob "Raphael" Paulsen. Cedric is voiced by Brian Cummings and his wife (whose name escapes me) by Diane Pershing (Dale Arden in two different shows, the Filmation version of Flash Gordon and the first episode of Defenders Of The Earth, where she became Dynak X). And thus the leading trio are established, and thanks to Rowanne's falling out of favour with the baron, she's persona non grata in Bridgeford, so she joins Valiant and Arn. Great episode, the most interesting yet. The character of Duncan is a particularly fascinating one, as subsequent episodes in the next few weeks will illustrate. I don't want to give anything away, but he's one of the best examples of why this show has some of the best writing of any show ever.

    Episode 4 - The Kidnapping.
    This episode probably has the least to do with this opening story, other than demonstrating Rowanne's status as a wanted woman after the events of the previous episode. Valiant and Arn lose no time in going after her, and while there's not much technically going on in this episode, it does introduce the fort where they set up camp.

    Episode 5 - The Trust.
    This is where the bigger picture starts getting some details. What starts out as just a simple game of cat-and-mouse turns out to be so much more, their Viking adversary turns out to be the last survivor of a peace envoy sent to Camelot who were otherwise all slain. Tor gives them his ring to take to King Arthur, and thus paves the way for a lot of the events in later episodes, especially the second season. There are moments in the final episode of season 2 that link back to this one (again, not giving anything away, especially as we're not going to be doing anything from season 2 here - not because it's bad, far from it, but because the only way to fit this show in without losing anything of the main story is to focus on the first season!). Also, we see another side to Arn in this episode, he has issues which he manages to address very well.

    Episode 6 - The Finding Of Camelot.
    And so at last the main premise of the opening episode, Valiant's dream, comes true, at least to the point where Camelot is found. Valiant & co have to give the ring to Arthur, but someone has them locked up to prevent it, and the ring is taken. With a few little subtle assists from a very non-magical Merlin, the trio manage to recover it and prove themselves to King Arthur. This is a particularly interesting episode as their foe here is kept unknown for the time being. Actually it's never formally stated who it was, but it becomes obvious a few episodes down the line. Arthur, Merlin and Guinevere are shown for the first time, and, apart from the very down-to-earth, non-magical nature of Merlin, they are all exactly what you'd expect them to be. The decision to make Merlin not magical here was a deliberate one, and a good one. By making him more grounded in the sciences, and his vast worldly knowledge, he is the wise old sage that we'd all want to ask for the answers. So, our heroes are now in Camelot, and the next phase of the quest - the search for knighthood - can begin!

    All in all, a great start to a great show. For a time I accorded this "honourable mention" status besides my "big three" action cartoons growing up, which were Thundercats, Defenders Of The Earth, and Visionaries. However, after watching the show again in its entirety as an adult in 2011 (actually for the first time in its entirety, as there were some later episodes I never saw as a kid), I had to change that, and make the big three the big four.

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