There's a lot to love about Netflix's animated fantasy series, The Dragon Prince. There's also plenty to be frustrated about. This was true of the nine-episode first season that made its debut last year, and it remains true with the upcoming second installment, though there were some massive improvements. In other words, The Dragon Prince is a lot better in its sophomore season, but there are still improvements to be made if the series wants to be on par with the likes of Trollhunters or 3Below.
Season Two of The Dragon Prince picks up right where the first left off. Callum, Rayla, and Ezran are on the mountain trying to train the newborn dragon prince to fly while they are hunted by Claudia and Soren. Viren is is up to no good back home, plotting a war against the elves and getting involved with even darker magic. The majority of the new season (nine episodes in total) follows the three heroes as they journey toward the home of the dragons, attempting to return the prince and unite the lands in peace. As you can imagine, this isn't nearly as easy as it seems.
Before we go any further, however, we need to talk about the show's animation, which was a sore spot for some fans in the first season. The Wonderstorm studio is still very new, and Dragon Prince was their first project, so it's understandable that the unique animation style the creators are going for wasn't exactly how they wanted it the first time around. Season Two presents a substantial improvement in this regard. It's still a different kind of animation than you might be used to, and there are moments where you'll probably wish it was just a little closer to traditional animation, but it's still leaps and bounds above the first season. There's significantly more clarity in the motions of the characters as well as more life in the environment. After watching nine episodes of this second try, we're much more excited to see this style continue with The Dragon Prince and other future projects.
When it comes to the rest of the show, with aspects like story, dialogue, and character development, things are definitely progressing. The series is still a ton of fun to watch and has a very enjoyable premise, which has never been the issue. This time around, the characters are even more relatable, and their personal journies get much more emotional. There are a couple of scenes in the back half with Ezran and Callum that will legitimately break your heart in ways you never thought this show could. The relationships between many of these characters have reached a level of genuine that the first season was never able to.
There is some bad with the good, however. The biggest problem plaguing The Dragon Prince is that the series still isn't exactly sure what it is. While there's never a moment when it tries to be too old for its audience, the show has trouble blending its genres from time to time. Comedy is a great and necessary part of an adventure like this, and most of the time this series nails its jokes, but there are quite a few moments where it dives into the entirely-too-juvenile territory, reaching deep into the back of cheap and tired children's jokes. There will be some very young kids that get a kick out of this, but the series has worked very hard to set itself apart from the pitfalls of preschool programming. Most of the time, it knows that it's much better than that, but the instances where it falls short are incredibly obvious.
If The Dragon Prince can mature just a tiny bit in it's third season, and really nail the whole "Game of Thrones for kids" vibe that it's been going for, it could easily be one of the better animated shows on the market. For now, it misses the mark, but despite a few flaws, The Dragon Prince's second season is still a plenty good time, and a fairly quick watch. Just be careful, because by the time the new episodes are finished, you'll likely find yourself much more invested than ever before.
Rating: 3 out of 5
The Dragon Prince Season Two arrives on Netflix on Friday, February 15th.