Hey! Hallie here!
For us fans of Jim Henson and the recent continuation of ‘The Dark Crystal’ story, we got two major pieces of news for ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ within the last twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program. The bad news: Netflix cancelled this show immediately afterwards. Considering the epic story season one was weaving was no where near completed, there’s a lot to be sad about. Who knows how this show will continue. Maybe they’ll be able to continue on another streaming platform. Maybe they’ll continue in future books and comics. All we know now is Netflix is really missing out. Let’s go through what Netflix is missing out on. Light SPOILERS ahead.
The Puppets: This is probably the most obviously impressive of the visual elements used in the show. The puppets are gorgeously made and are capable of so many expressions that it’s really easy to forget that they’re puppets entirely. Nearly every part of every puppet is able to move independently from the rest of the structure, which means movement is anything but limited. The amount of people working a singular puppet would probably surprise you. Not only that, but the designs of the puppets are so well done. Gelflings are eerily human-like and unique depending on where they’re from. Skeksis are giant puppets that get more revolting and disturbing the longer you look at them. And let’s be honest, Hup is one of the cutest things any of us will ever see in our lives. The Jim Henson Company remains the best of the best when it comes to puppets and it’s a shame their artwork is being disregarded by Netflix.
The Story: ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ introduced itself as a prequel to the cult classic ‘The Dark Crystal’. Fans of the original movie knew right away that the story of the show would be deep and horrifying. After all, ‘The Dark Crystal’ starts out with most of the good guys, the Gelfling, having been completely wiped out by the Skeksis. Introducing a prequel where all the main characters represent the different Gelfling Clans means that, by the end of the story, a lot of characters are going to die. This is a kids show everyone. The story even kicks off with a major character getting the essence drained out of her. That thing that scarred all of us as kids. As we follow all of the main characters, first in their separate journeys and then as they converge, we begin to root for them. With the season ending with the first major battle in the Gelfling/Skeksis war, the story was already promising bigger things. It’s sad we won’t be able to see it all. At least for now.
The Creepiness: One of the best things about ‘The Dark Crystal’ in general is that it’s barely a children’s franchise. The characters are cute and there’s nothing explicit about any part of the story. Then we get to the Skeksis and their plan to thrive off of the essence of all of the cute characters by putting them in front of a giant, purple crystal and letting it drain them of everything cute. We get to watch as this happens too. There’s no cutting away, there’s no curing the effects, there’s only the unsettling sight of cute Podlings shriveling up. Not to mention, the Skeksis themselves are giant and disturbing. The sounds The Chamberlain makes are enough to give you nightmares. Despite it’s bright colors and brighter main characters, there’s something truly dark and unsettling about ‘The Dark Crystal’. ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ doesn’t pull it’s punches either. It finds interesting things to do with the creepy aesthetic while reminding everyone watching that life can be ugly. Nothing will ever be able to capture these separate moods as well as this show can.
The Lore: There’s a lot of lore that goes along with the original ‘The Dark Crystal’. It was a collaboration with George Lucas, and as such there was a lot of sci-fi and fantasy elements to unpack throughout the film. The Netflix show only deepened the lore. (There was even a character named Lore.) The Gelfling clans were given specific statuses within Thra. While some lived poorly, in swamps or underground, some Gelfling clans had monarchies. The Skeksis are shown before the Skeksis Emperor died. As such, the show introduces how the Skeksis operated during his rule and how many schemes to overthrow him were occurring in the background. Along with this we get the Skeksis and Mystic duo, skekGra and urGoh, give us an entire visual representation, with the help of Hup, showing us how Skeksis and Mystics were separated from one being into two. This was something we knew from the first movie, but seeing two halves of the same whole living together adds an entire other level to the audiences understanding of these two races. We all know it would have played into later events if it was given the chance.
This is only a handful of the things that drew fans towards The Jim Henson Company’s masterpiece. It’s upsetting that we won’t be able to see more of it for now. Hopefully the story will be able to finish without Netflix streaming the show. Whether or not we get to see the end of Brea, Deet, and Rian’s story, the fans won’t forget what we were given. It went beyond anyone’s imagining of what a Netflix show could be and remains a worthy addition to ‘The Dark Crystal’ franchise. Above all, it was worthy of many more seasons than just one.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!