I loved The Dark Crystal as a kid. Not as much as Jenny did. No one loves the things Jenny loves as much as Jenny does. But it was a given for me to check out the new Netflix prequel series. I just needed the time to do so.
Now is as good a time as any.
Set fifty years before the events of the movie, Age of Resistance doesn’t have much resistance in the first episode. The Gelflings consider the Skeksis as benevolent overlords, protectors and caretakers of the Crystal of Truth. It doesn’t take much effort for the viewer to see the Skeksis are evil, but as narrator Sigourney Weaver explains, well, that may not be the case for the world of Thra.
Yeah, there’s a really impressive voice cast for this show. The only one I recognized was the Skeksis Scientist was clearly Mark Hamill. But given the recognizable names in the cast, I’m actually not going to name most of them. It works better for me that way.
However, we learn this much as the start: the Skeksis came from…somewhere and took the job usually held by Aughra. They just bribed her with some astronomy equipment. And while Thra looks OK, the Skeksis are, well, killing the world by draining life energy out of the Crystal to keep themselves alive.
No one really knows that yet.
Now, the Skeksis for this pilot are the most recognizable characters. There are a few new ones, but the ones from the movie all seem to be hanging around. If anything, the Emperor (who died at the start of the movie) gets to show just how evil he is here.
And given we know the Gelflings are almost completely wiped out by the time the movie starts, what does it say about their chances? There may be seven clans, but we only see three, each represented by one of the main characters. They are:
- Rian (Taron Egerton), of the warrior clan, a guard at the Skeksis palace who watches as his girlfriend becomes the first victim of the Skeksis new procedure to drain life energy out of Gelflings to keep themselves alive.
- Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy), princess of the ruling clan, who lives for scholarship and doesn’t see the system as all that fair or right.
- Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel), of the underground clan tied most closely to nature, who learned from a wise tree that the world is going literally insane because of what the Skeksis are doing.
Can these three build a sufficient resistance to maybe stop the Skeksis in some way? They don’t even know each other yet.
Now, the late Jim Henson always wanted to push the bounds of what puppets can do, and even if Gelfling faces are a little stiff, this show certainly pushes the bounds. There must be some CG mixed into everything. The Skeksis tongues alone suggest more than just simple puppets. And if that wasn’t enough, the Skeksis destruction of Thra is almost certainly an environmental allegory.
So, let’s see where this goes.