Hello, Spongey here.
At this point, you know my feelings on pre school shows. I’ve gone on about them in my discussions of The Backyardigans and Lazytown. Really, I’ve told you that they tend to be hit or miss, with most of the time being panderous crap. However, sometimes you get one that respects it’s audience and is quite enjoyable, like the aforementioned shows.
When it comes to these shows, my standards are different. When it comes to normal kids show, I have slightly high standards, since they can be even better most adult programming. They can be as great as Batman The Animated Series, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, or Steven Universe. They can be a bit more simple like Spongebob, but being for kids should not excuse you for making something that’s ONLY for kids.
Pre School shows, however, are a different story. Let’s be honest, you rarely find yourself watching these shows on your own and it’s very unlikely they could live up to the standards of adult shows, or even the best of normal kids programming. So for me, a preschool show does not need to be epic or for adults instead of kids. All it needs to do is talk to kids at their level, give them substance, and make it so an adult can at least sit through an episode without wanting to kill themselves.
That’s all i ask. There are two types of Good preschool shows: More complex ones that are quite good, and ones that are simply cute and enjoyable. Backyardigans and LazyTown have shades of both, and even the former can be among the former for the imagination alone. Now, we’ve talked about good ones that have come to us from Nick in some way, and we’ve looked at a shockingly amazing finale to a mediocre Disney Junior series.
So I suppose now is a good time to look at an actually good Disney Junior, that is another example of quality preschool programming.
This, is A Look at Sofia the First
Created in 2012 (technically premiering in 2013) by Craig Gerber, this is one of Disney’s latest attempts to milk a lot of money out of little girls. However, there is bit more to it than just a cheap cash grab. I mean, for one, it was created by a man. A man who has two kids, neither of which are girls.
So now’s the point where I tell you the concept of the series, and I will. I could just quote the theme song-
“I was a girl in the village, doin’ all right, then I became a princess over night. Now I gotta figure out how to do it right, so much to learn and see…”
-but I could also give you a full recap of the 40 minute pilot movie thingy, Once Upon a Princesses. I’ll do that. There’s a lot established in this pilot, and from that, you’ll know that this preschool is a bit different from some others. But I’ll get to that a bit.
In the land of Enchancia, a village girl named Sofia finds her world being changed after her Mom is married to King Roland II. She has to adjust to Royal life, which includes living in a huge castle with her step siblings James and Amber. Roland gives her an amulet, called the Amulet of Avalor as a present, and Sofia finds out that it’s actually magic. She saves an animal and finds that she has the ability to talk to animals, most notably a bunny named Clover. We’ll get to all that in a bit.
She meets the kingdom’s sorcerer, Cedric, who is a bit bumbling. And guess what? He’s the villain. Yep, he finds out about the amulet and wants to use it’s power to, you guessed it, take over the kingdom. There’s a bit more to him but we’ll get to that later. Eventually, Sofia to dance at this thing, and she can’t dance. So she asks Cedric if he has a spell that can help her dance. As a trick, he shows her a spell that make everyone at the ball fall asleep, so he can grab the amulet without any witnesses.
Except he goes to the ball thingy, so he winds up falling asleep too. …He’s that kind of villain. Sofia thinks she just messed up the spell and she’s up poop creek. So she needs help from Amber, but throughout the “movie” she kind of a bitch to Sofia. See, she’s the jealous step sister, but here we find out that she’s a lot more sympathetic than she seems. With ow it’s written, their relationship ends up being on the highlights of the pilot.
So who is gonna convince Sofia to mend her relationship with Amber to save the day? Cinderlla! And there is where we get to the one of big draws of the series. See, when Sofia gets all sad, the amulet summons Cinderella who explains what is going on. The amulet has two main uses for Sofia:
1. “With each deed performed, for better or worse, a power is granted, a blessing or curse”. In other words, when Sofia does something nice, it grants her a cool power. If she does something bad, it punishes here. More on that later.
2. The amulet links Sofia to “all the princesses that ever were”. When she is in distresses, it summons a princesses that is appropriate for that situation.
Because Sofia is having trouble with a Stepsister, it summoned Cinderella, since she kind of had evil step sisters. They sing a song about how Cindy could have had a solid relationship with her sisters if they just talked it out. Yeah, the writers just pretend that Cinderella 3 never happened, like the rest of us. Even though the voice actor behind in the sequels, Jenifer Hale, returns for this episode. Whatever.
Long story short, Sofia and Amber team up and end up waking everyone up. The day is saved, Sofia learns lessons about being a princesses, and dances with her Dad who explains why he is Roland the 2nd.
“I guess that makes me Sofia the First!”
And that’s pretty much all the basic stuff you need to know. That and Sofia has to go to Royal Prep, a school for future royals, headed by Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty. We got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
There are a lot of factors that make this an example of a very good preschool program. For one, it’s easy to see that the makers were very much influenced by classic Disney. Not only because of the use of the Disney Princesses, but also because of the general feel of the series.
You have the hallmarks of a Disney product, with villains, songs, princesses, and all that stuff.
They really capture that feeling with the writing as well, putting a ton of effort to make it more interesting than some of the stories should be.
It’s hard to describe, but they really capture that classic Disney feeling, making it feel like a true Disney product instead of being a quick cash grab. Even if there is some obvious product placement at times and some “Target demo fan service”.
A lot of the feeling comes from the songs. I was gonna save this for later, but I think now is a good time to talk about the songs. Each episode has one, (some have multiple) and holy crap, if anything else, the songs are of high quality.
Most of them feel like songs you could find in a Disney movie, and that’s a huge compliment. All of them are really catchy with a ton of effort put into them. Some of them can sound of similar, but they can take on different styles and a lot of them really sell the moment.
A good example is ‘I’m not Ready to be a Princess” from the pilot. You really feel the emotions in this song as Sofia shows that she feels she isn’t cut out to be a princess. The pure emotions in this song really got me into it and this is where I start to get into the show, though the pilot actually wasn’t the first episode I saw. I’ll get into that later.
True Sisters, Cindy’s song I mentioned, had the same effect. As the show goes on, the songs get even better and they are all awesome. I think most people will at least enjoy the songs, no matter how the feel about the writing.
Let’s go over a few notable ones, besides the ones I’ll end up mentioning later on:
Mystic Meadows: The catchiest brochure you’ll ever come across,
Blue Ribbon Bunny: If I told you this was a rap, you’d think this was the worst thing ever, but it’s actually super awesome.
I Belong: One of the more emotional ones, and it’s pretty nice.
Make Some Noise: Trolls make rocking music. Who knew?
Bigger is Better: Amber is at her…Amberest here, and it’s awesome. Also,, right after it…
“So I guess I gotta come up with a bigger idea, then”
“Uh, Sofia, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. Do I need to sing the song again?”
Speaking of effort, that’s one major aspect to this show. No matter what they are doing, each episode seems to have a ton of effort put into it. Even if the plot is a bit cliché, there’s so much effort into it, with the emotions and just general writing, that it’s hard to get mad at it.
And when they get a more interesting plot, it’s made even better. I’m not quite sure what it is, but there’s just a lot of heart put into the show that is very respectable. The pilot movie has a lot of this, and some cliché parts are made tolerable by either the heart or the writing.
You really feel what Sofia is going through, and all that stuff with Cinderlla’s song and Amber is done very very well. The first through episodes (and a few later ones) are a tad cliché, but like I said, the effort pulls it through.
Two good examples are “The Big Sleepover” and “Let the Good Times Troll”. In the former, Amber and her princess friends have a sleep over and Sofia invites her villager friends. Amber doesn’t like this because she wants the sleep over to be perfect, and the girls are not exactly princesses.
As you would expect, this leads into a story where Amber and her friends learn to accept Sofia’s friends less perfect ways, and all that good stuff.
Since the friends do get a bit annoying and even spill over a chocolate fountain at one point, the moral may seem a little muddled, but with the way it’s written, it comes across well. Again, the effort is there it makes this story work fine.
“Let the Good Times troll” works the same way. Sofia stumbles upon a group of cave trolls, who she befriends. Roland explains that years ago, some king found some trolls banging clubs, so he banned them to the underground and they are not allowed up here.
At that point, I latterly said to myself that it’s gonna turn out to be misunderstanding and it’s gonna be a big thing. Yeah, this is one of the more predictable ones, but all the heart and effort really makes it passable.
Also, the song helps. Though the CG on the trolls is a bit uncanny. I’ll touch on the animation in a bit.
Now, as the show goes on, the writing gets better, and sometimes they use more complex and interesting plots. We explore the characters more and the world in general. Season 1 has ups and downs in terms of plots, but at a point must of them are fairly entertaining.
Here’s a “short list” of my Top 10 Season 1 episodes, with very short explanations:
10. Once Upon a Princess: A lot of the “pretty good” ones could have gone here, but I picked this one because it works pretty well as a pilot.
9. Tea for Too Many: Good moral and story, but the real highlight is that amazing “Bigger is Better” song I mentioned.
8. Princess Butterfly: Very Good Amber development and all that.
7. Make way for Miss Nettle: Awesome/fun villain, and nice little story for this dude who doesn’t do a whole lot most of the time.
6. Holiday in Echania: I’ll explain this one later, for now, I’ll say it’s a pretty good Holiday episode.
5. Finding Clover: I’m pretty sure every show needs a ‘lost pet” episode, and they are usually tear jerkers. This one is no exception.
4. The Princess Test: Very nice development for Sofia with some good morals.
3. The Little Witch: See below
2. The Floating Palace: I’ll talk about this one later too but for now, you just need to know that it’s an awesome special
1. Cedric’s Apprentice: Yeah, this is explained later too, but I will say there’s a reason it’s the one that got me into the show.
In Season 2, the show really grew the beard. Most of the episodes have had a high entertainment value that makes all of them notably good, even the more cliché ones. The stories are far more interesting and everything has gone up, from the animation to the songs.
I’ll actually recommend starting here if you want to get a better impression of the show. In the first season, the writers seemed to be holding back a tad due to restrictions and not really knowing if the show would find an adult audience.
And when it did, they were able to do more interesting things. Here are some highlights of Season 2, so far. No Top 10 cuz it’s no over yet, and i couldn’t really organize these:
Ghostly Gala: Awesome Halloween episode that captures the mood really well, and it has a solid conflict. Also, in the song, the guy mentions having an “Uncle Roy and Walter”. Nice.
Sofia the Second: Two words…Evil Sofia. Yes, we have an evil clone of Sofia (called “Sofia the worst”) and it’s AWESOME. Oh, and it has a good moral and Avery from Dog with a blog is in it, but that’s not important.
Very nice development with Amber and James, and they use the cliche plot pretty well
The Leafsong Festival: Besides the usual strong character development, song and plot, they finally gave these 2 bird characters who barely did anything, something to do. It’s great.
The Princess Stays in the Picture. Not only do they get really creative with other art styles, but it has awesome development from a character, which was really nice.
The Emerald Key: It’s kind of a follow up to The Princess Test, as It shows what being a princess means, and they even have the same writers. It manages to be even better with nice emotional parts, an awesome villain and some really cool parts.
Before we move on, I’ll touch on the animation. At the start, it’s okay CG. It isn’t the best, and some of the less important character look kind of cheap, (the trolls being a good examples) but the main characters look okay.
It’s still decent but it gets a lot better near the end of Season 1, and Season 2 really bumped things up. There’s a lot nice shading and things are way more detailed. The most impressive animation can be seen in “The Princess Stays in the picture” and “The curse of Princess Ivy”.
So yeah, not the best animation but as of now, it’s solid and presentable. With that out of the way, let’s talk about two major episodes that have something that makes them very impressive. They are two of my favorites from Season 1 that I skipped cuz I wanted to talk about them here.
The first is “The Little Witch”, my number 3 choice back tghere.. Remember the MLP episode One Bad Apple, which has had some negative feedback due to how it handles its bullying message?
Yeah…this gets everything right where that one got everything right. Yes, this show kinda sorta did a bullying episode. For Season 1, it’s pretty interesting and it’s done really well.
A young witch named Lucinda is going around hexing everything, and of course, the kids hate it. Now, what does Sofia do that no one did in One Bad Apple? She actually talks to her. Yes, this episode shows that in a lot of cases, just talking to the bully with solve things. There is not a single adult in this episode.
Was that so hard, MLP? And that’s not the end of it. They also do a better job at humanizing the bully and handling the message overall. By talking to her, Sofia finds out that Lucinda is this way because her Mom is a wicked witch, and she very much takes after her. She does want to make friends but being a wicked witch for her Mom is getting in the way of that.
Not to knock One Bad Apple again (which I don’t even hate), but in that one, the bully’s excuse was slapped on at the hand, and it wasn’t written all that well. Here, they do it early on and that’s not the end of it. Sofia is ready to forgive her (cuz she’s just like that) but Lucinda actually has to make up for her actions and show everyone that she can be a “good little witch”.
A catchy song helps as well.
She’s not easily forgiven but she honestly tries and in the end, It ends up sending the message that sometimes you have to actually make up for your actions and stuff. They even have the other big thing OBA covered. Jade, one of Sofia’s little friends, unaware of how Lucinda fixed her hexes, tries to pull a prank on her as revenge and as you may expect, it doesn’t turn out well.
See, in OBA the CMC try a dirty trick and the episode treats it like confronting the bully was the wrong thing, and they say telling an adult is the end all be all answer. Now, I really can’t hate that one since I see what they were trying to do, and as someone unaffected by bullying (Yes, I know that’s REALLY hard to believe) I can’t really be mad.
However, it did a lot of things wrong that this episode, somehow did a lot better despite being aimed at a younger set. In The Little Witch, they say that pulling a dirty trick makes you the bully, and if you just talk to them, you may find out why they are that way, and they can make up for their actions.
Granted, a lot of bully’s are just …you know bad people, but come on, both of these shows are aimed at kids, and there are other places to be more realistic. Besides, the bully being more human is realistic too. Also, another cartoons have one dimensional bullies as it is.
Overall, this episode did everything right and it’s a really really great one. But I will give One Bad apple this: It did have a better song.
The other one is “Cedric’s Apprentice”., which as you recall was put as my favorite episode of Season 1. Now, usually I would talk about a character like Cedric in the part where I talk about all the characters. But this is a case where I want to go into detail on him now.
Cedric, voiced by Jess Harnell, is our villain for the show. He’s the royal sorcerer, but he’s not exactly the best as he often messes up his spells. In the first couple episodes, he was mostly the kind of villain you might expect to see in a show like this. He’s not the most effective villain, but he’s funny. However, he was a bit more competent than someone like Robbie Rotten and that’s part of why he worked fine.
Now, a lot of preschool villains will turn out to be less evil than they seem, mostly by just doing something or nice or being, in Lazytown’s words, a big softie. And in those type of shows, it’s easier to write. In more “adult” kids shows, the villain will have a backstory and excuse for being evil.
But this show decides it’s time preschool shows did that kind of thing. And that’s where this episode comes in. It was the 5th episode of the show, counting the pilot, and it was the first one I saw in full. It’s the one that got me into the show. But I actually saw a clip of while channel surfing, and I was so impressed by that bit that I ended up watching the full episode later on and the rest is history.
In this episode, Sofia needs to pass a sorcery test at school, so she asks Cedric for help. He agrees to help, in exchange for being his apprentice for a bit. Of course, he’s doing this as a front to get the amulet. However, he starts to bond with Sofia and he wonders if he’s doing the right thing.
Now, while that is cliché, it is a much more interesting plot than the other early episodes.
It also has all that effort stuff I talked about, but even more so than usual. Here, we find out that Cedric’s Father was also a royal sorcerer and let’s say there’s a reason he’s called “Goodwyn the great”. Yeah, it’s a case where he’s living in the shadow of his father.
His Dad looks down on him and thinks Cedric sucks at being evil, while Mom coddles him and wants him to do his best. After a talk with them, Cedric gives us our obligatory villain song. In it, he talks about how everyone calls him a bad sorcerer and he always messes up in front of Roland. Roland isn’t that fond of them either.
Actually, Roland kind of a douche in this one compared to other episodes. It’s not a problem, it’s just…weird. Anyway, in the song he talks about how all of this and we see his true motivation. Because his Dad looks down on him, he can’t live up to his father, and even the king won’t give him a chance, he’s gonna steal the amulet so he can take over and prove to everyone he’s awesome.
They can tell me I’m no good and call me second rate, but soon they’ll see, I’m meant to be, King Cedric, the great!
After his song is cock blocked by Baileywick the Steward, he sits down and then we have a…sad ending.
…They can tell me I’m no good. And call me second rate…but soon they’ll see…I’m meant to be. King Cedric the great….
Damn. That was the very clip I saw. As I soon as I heard that sad part, I was interested. I mean, it doesn’t seem like much on text, but if you go listen to it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO0LxEhNx6c ) you’ll see how damn depressing it is.
And that’s why this episode is probably my personal favorite. It’s the one that more or less proved how good this show can be. Like I said, usually it’s the real kids show that get complex villain stuff like that, while Preschool shows tend to get people like Robbie Rotten who just turns out to be a softie. Now, he’s cool but this is even more impressive.
I mean, just look at those reasons I mentioned. That’s pretty interesting stuff, and it makes him, and the episode, great. And of course him bonding is Sofia is pretty adorable, and she is certainly in top form in this one, helping Cedric out and all. Too bad he can’t say his name right until Season 2.
Though oddly enough, Cedric’s was not featured in a large chunk of Season 1. There were at least 7 episodes between “A Royal Mess” and “The Amulet of Avalor”. That’s quite a bit. I think I know why he was absent sometimes.
See, Sofia the First is not a formulaic show for the most part, as every episode has a different plot. In a shows, there’s a villain who has a wacky plans to get some McGuffin in every episode. With Cedric, they didn’t want to fall into that trap since the show doesn’t have much of a formula like other preschool shows. So that’s why they didn’t try to shoehorn him into every episode.
However, they were able to find a way to have him around in episodes where he has no evil plan around. After the events of Cedric’s Apprentice, he’s a bit more open and is slightly friendlier to the kids. So eventually we have a few episodes, like Princess Butterfly, where the kids go to Cedric to ask for some help with something.
While he does grumble a bit, he’s willing to help even if he laments then he’s sunken to doing stuff like that. He’s appear and do stuff and act like the Cedric we know and love without needing to be evil all the time. So it’s a bit more special when he does have an evil plan and they vary it up. I do wish he did evil stuff more often, since it is odd when he goes from “Sure I’ll help” to attempting to take over the kingdom again.
However, he is used well. And yes, Cedric’s Apprentice isn’t the last time we have development for him. His parents reappear in Mystic Meadows which is a great follow up. There’s others but I don’t want to go on too long with this and one of them I’ll get into in a bit.
So before we get into the characters, let’s go deep into the Disney Princesses thing. On top of getting that Disney feeling down, they also have special episodes featuring each of the Disney Princesses. Not happy with just milking money out of the brand through all that merch, they decided this show was a good way to push them. It also helps the show itself, by getting that Disney feeling even more, and pushing the shows themes further.
You saw how it worked in the pilot, and the other Princess episodes so far work the same way. Half way through the episode, or near the end, Sofia comes into a big problem and the amulet summons a princess that fits the situation. They all happen like this:
“I’m in trouble”
“Oh, I went through something like that in my movie!”
“Let’s sing about it!”
Of the 11 or so Princesses that are currently introduced (Anna and Elsa are on standby at the moment), 9 have been featured, and thus there are 9 episodes so far, counting the pilot. Of the remaining 8, let’s go through them in a bit more detail. If you don’t want to know anything about these episodes, just skip this part.
Two to Tangu:
With the summons, they usually find a connection in their story. With some they just put the characters in a location that’s kind of like the one in the movie. This is one of those kind.
Sofia and Amber are on a visit to Tangu with is a discount version of Agrabah. Yep, it’s Jasmine’s turn. They bump into a magic carpet and have some trouble with it and end of getting lost. This one is pretty decent. There’s some fun moment and they do take advantage of the setting.
My favorite part is this bit with a fortune teller named Madame Ubetcha. (No relation to Chet). She’s awesome. And She’s voiced by Ash from NFL Rush Zone. Yes.
As for Jasmine, she shows up when they are having trouble while lost. There’s no real attempt to make a story based connection here. Yes, there’s a flying carpet but that’s just an object, there’s nothing emotional here.
There have been only 2 princesses so far to make no connection at all, but this is the better of those 2. Jasmine is still used well, she moves the plot along and she gets a decent song. I have no problem with how she’s written or enough, I just wish there more was more of a connection beyond a geographical one.
I mean, they have a wishing based episode later on. They could have changed things around to make a Genie story, so boom, Jasmine can be there. But ah well, what we have is a solid episode despite it’s flaws. I’ll use a word rating for these, by the way. Rating=Good
The Amulet and the Anthem:
Youtube reviewer Ckat13 is doing a series of videos on these princess summon episodes, and if you saw her video on this one, you’ll know she had some small issues with it. And yeah, so do I. it’s still good but it is my least favorite Princess Summon episode thus far.
Now, I mentioned that earlier when Sofia does something bad, the amulet curses her. It was about time we saw that and it finally happened. It’s a bit flawed though. See, Sofia is chosen to sing the Enchancian Anthem at the annual Harvest Festival. She brags to Jade and Ruby about this…sort of.
See, with how it’s written, it seems like Sofia is just excited about it, and she doesn’t really seem all that braggy. Yet the amulet disagrees with me and curses her for bragging. It makes her croack a lot so she can’t sing.
The weird thing is that there are other times Sofia does stuff that isn’t too great. In “Blue Ribbon Bunny” she’s willingly to use another bunny instead of Clover in this thingy because he doesn’t have a lot of talents. She stays likable due to how it’s written but the amulet should have called her out on it.
Then in “Mom’s the Word”, she doesn’t want to share Mom on Mother’s Day with Amber and James, so she has Lucinda (this is her only other appearance to date) do some hexes so she and her mom can be alone. That’s way worse than…being a bit too excited when talking to her friends.
Now, she’s still likable in that one, but I’m just saying, this amulet is weird. Yeah, that is the problem with the episode, and the moral may not be the best executed. However, it is a bit nitpick-y, and I can still enjoy the episode despite that.
Besides the other moral is great. It’s that sometimes saying sorry isn’t enough and you have to actually show you are sorry. That’s a moral I want to see more. As for the summon, it’s Belle. When Sofia is cursed, Belle shows up to explain stuff and tell Sofia she has to make it right.
The connection? Well, Belle kind of knows a guy who cursed for doing something bad. Yeah, that’s good enough, and the song makes a decent emotional connection. Even the flawed episode could do it, guys! Okay, I’m off of that, for now.
Of the princesses whose voice actor is still alive, Belle is the only who has been changed. It went from Piage O Hara to Julie Nathanson. She’s the current voice in general. I’m not sure why she was just changed, but it doesn’t matter, they are both pretty good. I’m not too picky about her voice and she didn’t sound too off to me.
Belle is used pretty well in the plot and the connection, while not the best, is still good. Interestingly enough, they actually play clips from the original movie during the song, which looks kind of weird. But eh, it’s cool.
So while this episode is flawed, it’s still decent. The problems really don’t have enough to do with the princess summon part, so there you go. Belle is used well and while it’s one of the weaker episodes, it is a good one. I can see why the writer never did another episode though.
The Floating Palace:
This was the first big 40 minute special after the pilot, so it kind of had to be great. And oh man, it is. Sofia’s family go on a royal vacation to Merroway Cove. She bumps into a mermaid named Oona and saves her life. So the amulet gives her the ability to turn into a mermaid when she enters water.
Didn’t I just get finished with bitching about this stupid Amulet? Sofia does nice things all the time yet it seems to pick when it does stuff. Whatever. Sofia explores Oona’s world, meets her over protective sister, and goes on a tour accompanied by a discount version of under the sea, all that fun stuff.
Eventually, we find out that Mermaids are not found of humans because that’s always the case in these stories. Actually, it’s because of this one dude’s tragic backstory but whatever. They don’t like Sofia’s families big boat, The Floating Palace (hence the title), is in their waters and they aren’t to find out that Sofia the mermaid is actually Sofia the human.
And then Cedric has to go on turning into a sea monster, and kidnaps Oona to get Oona’s enchanted comb. They blame Sofia for Oona’s disappearance so she has to save the day. As a side note, this is the most evil Cedric has been since…well ever. And in most of it, his in Octopus form because we can’t have Sofia knowing Cedric is evil just yet.
But of course, before she goes to save her, a princess has to tell her to go do that. If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s Ariel this time. This is the only time I can excuse the geographically ones, since they need to be in a body of water for Ariel to show up in the form we recognize her in.
The connection here is that Sofia is dealing with human/merfolk relations and all that kind of stuff. Yep, it’s fitting enough. Ariel is used pretty well, and their song is very nice. I can say this princesses was used pretty well, though this is where I started to notice the formula with these summons. I know they aren’t gonna have the princess doing a ton to give more time to Sofia but come on, do a bit more than what’s pretty much hit and run advice.
Anyway, long story short, Sofia saves Oona and everything is fine. As a side note, Jodi Benson actually pulls double duty, as she voices the Mermaid Queen chick as well. Anyway, this episode is great. The whole Human/merfolk thing is pretty interesting, the whole thing is fairly epic.
Cedric is awesome and the animation is pretty nice in some parts. There as two great songs, and some cool moments. Add a nice use of Ariel and you have our best Summon episode of Season 1. Though honestly, I think the next one can compete despite a flaw…
Anyway, I dig this one.
Holiday in Enchania:
This one is the exact opposite of The amulet and the Anthem. As in, the Princesses Summon is actually weak, while the rest of the episode is great.
This is the obligatory Christmas episode. Oh wait, this is a fantasy land, so we gotta call it something else. Here, it’s called Wassalia, cuz why not. Oddly enough, Halloween stays the same…sort of.
In “Princesses Butterfly” it’s called All Hallows Eve, but in Ghostly Gala, it’s Halloween. Weird.
On the magical eve of Wassalia, storm keeps King Roland from arriving home for the Wassailia holidays, so Sofia and her family try to find him. Yeah, it’s a typical “will they be home for Christmas” plot but it’s very well done. There are some emotional moments, and they really capture that Christmas/Wassalia spirit pretty well. Yes, this comes with a “Christmas” song. Two, actually.
One at the start, and one at the end. Now, what Princesses would make sense here? I don’t know, and clearly the writers were forced to put a certain number of princesses episodes in Seasons and after Floating Palace, they couldn’t fit an extra ep in so they slapped a princess on this one.
That’s the only explanation I can think of. Our royal lady here is Aurora. Aurora tends to be ranked low on people’s list of favorite Disney Princesses and I think the writers agree. They cleatly like Sleeping Beauty, but I think is Aurora wasn’t their favorite part.
I’ve never seen it-
-so I couldn’t tell you what I think. I will tell you that is where that formula was abused the most. Sofia and her family get lost and then is Aurora pops up. This is a dramatic yet accurate retelling of what happened:
“Get your animal friends to help kthanxbai”
I checked and hero cameo doesn’t even last 2 minute. Most of them are like that but you still feel like they needed to be here. Not so much with is Aurora. She just appears, gives Sofia advice she oculd have figured out on her own, and she leaves. She doesn’t even sing.
But I can kind of forgive that. Cinderella’s changed choice was present in the sequels so having her sing isn’t too out of nowhere. Aurora on the other hand hasn’t be in much, in the world of animation anyway, outside of the original film and her voice has changed from those minor appearances. So it may be odd for some viewers to have her sing in a different voice.
She is voiced by Kate Higgins here, and since I haven’t seen Sleeping Beauty, I can’t tell you how jarring it is, but the VA here does fine for what she’s given.
The scene itself isn’t so bad, but it’s so weak. She does nothing that another character could not do. There’s no connection here, not even a geographical one. It’s just…lazy.
However, the episode is still great in spite of this. It’s the weakest Princesses Summon but it’s still a really well done episode. Thankfully, they would get another shot at a Christmas Princess episode next summon, but we’ll get to that.
Overall, weak summon but great episode.
The Enchanted Feast:
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have this one. As in, the episode is great AND the summon is used well! This was the first Princess Summon of Season 2, and we’re off to a good start.
This one happens to be a sequel to Make way for Miss Nettle. In that episode, Royal Prep got a new teacher named Miss Nettle, voiced by Megan Mullally. She turns out to be an evil fairy who after this fairy spell book which will use to do evil things.
Spoilers, she fails. But here, she returns and this time she’s after Sofia’s amulet. You know, why does Cedric even want to use that thing? I mean, we find out later that he’s aware of the fact that it curses you if you do things while wearing it.
So when he tries to use it for evil things, it will just curse him. Yet he goes after it anyway. Whatever, that’s not important.
Nettle disguises herself as “Sasha the Sorceress” to gain everyone’s trust. See, Cedric is preparing to show off his exceptionally strong magical abilities at the titular Enchanted Feast, which is a grand dinner for all of the kings and queens in the land.
But of course, “Sasha” shows up and steals his thunder. Also, during her awesome song, Cedric is…smitten with her. Ew. Thankfully, this doesn’t last long. This episode is just very eteraining with Miss Nettle being a better threat this time around, and some fun moments with Cedric and Sofia.
Also, this is the one where Sofia finally says Cedric’s name right. Sort of. She said it right in the Season 2 premiere, but ‘Cedric wasn’t in that scene so he didn’t take notice until this episode. Right at the start, she calls him Cedric.
“Was I saying it wrong before?”
There’s some more minor development for Cedric in this one, and the episode is just very well done. It’s great in a more minor way than the others, but it is very enjoyable. The story is a bit cliché, and I am reminded of A Canterlot Wedding with how the story plays out, but it’s still good.
Sofia is more than a little suspicious of Sasha but of course no one thinks anything of it. Unlike Canterlot Wedding, she doesn’t say anything about it to anyone, cuz….well you saw how it played out here.
Also, this show has too many plots similar to MLP. They even managed to do the moral of “Somepony to Watch over me” better, with “The Buttercups”.
Now, this one is about equal with ACW. That one is more epic and has a better villain song, but this one…kind of executes the moral better. Both have the lesson about trusting your insincts even when others don’t see eye to eye with you. In that one, it could be seen as telling you to just assume the worst and jump to conclusions. I mean, the episode RIGHT before that (Mmmmystery on the friendship express) had a moral about NOT jumping to conclusions.
However, it still a good moral there, but here it’s done much better, and it can be seen as a good moral. The issues still show up, but it works. Anyway, onto the princesses. When Sofia is sad about no one thinking Sasha is evil, Snow White shows up.
Yep, the original Princesses gets her turn. Let’s see, in her movie, the evil king disguised herself as a stranger to do evil stuff to her. Yep, this connection is sound. They even spell it out for us who didn’t notice.
I like to think of this as the Aurora one done right. Like in that one, just she gives advice and leaves, but they actually try to make an emotional connection. Thus, it works. Snow is voiced by Katherine Von Till and she does fine, I suppose. I’ve seen the movie this time, but I’m too picky. Besides, I’ve never been a huge fan of the original voice.
She doesn’t sing, for likely the same reasons as Aurora. I think Cinderella only got to sing cuz she was the first one, and she kind of had to. Overall, it’s not the best summon, but it’s used well.
So all in all, this is a very fun episode with a nice use of Snow White. Not much else to say, so let us move on.
Princesses to the Rescue:
In this episode, Sofia and the gang go to Discount China. Yes, it’s Mulan’s turn. While visiting the Kingdom of Wei-Ling, James and Prince Jin set off to search for the legendary treasure of the Jade Jaguar but soon find themselves and their fathers trapped in the jaguar’s den. It’s up to Sofia, Amber, and Jun to save the day.
This is a pretty good one. It does have the sort of girl power angle, but it works since James is just being James, and it’s understandable why Roland didn’t want the girls going off to help. They are little kids, so they shouldn’t really be chasing after a big jaguar dude.
So it all works out fine and there’s nice messages and a cool adventure. Though it is odd that this old wise dude didn’t tell Roland and that other guy about the fact that the Jaguar has a trap in his den BEFORE they left. Whatever, that’s all nitpicking.
Mulan actually shows up early in the episode, as they set off on their journey. That’s different right off the bat. On their epic journey, they have trouble with their first obstacle and they aren’t sure if they can do it.
So Mulan pops up and to the delight of many, she’s in the armor instead of her merch makeover. She explains the connect with her song:
I know a lot about overcoming doubt, so many things they told that I couldn’t do. I went and proved them wrong, so now I’ll pass along, some words I hope get through to you.
Eh, good enough. It’s a nice emotional connection for this one and thanks to this song, it works really well. This may actually be the best use of a summon, on all levels. It works for the plot, and it works on an emotional level as well. They pull it off well in all the others (minus Aruroa) but Mulan’s only completion in terms of these levels is Cinderlla and since she HAD to be good, I think it’s cheating.
It’s not the BEST episode to have a princesses in it, but it is the best of one, all things considered. Anyway, not to much to say on the rest of the plot. It’s a pretty enjoyable adventure with a good message, my personal favorite Princesses song, and it’s just a very good episode.
Not great, but it’s pretty good.
The Curse of Princess Ivy
And now we have our 2nd big 40 minute special, and it’s pretty amazing. If you wanna be technical, this is my favorite Summon episode thus far. So let’s go over the plot.
Amber finally discovers that Sofia’s amulet is magical and it summons princesses. Yeah, no one can know about that stuff because….reasons. She takes it without permission and tries to summon a princess.
Yes, this summon episode starts with someone actually trying to summon a princesses on purpose.
But guess what? Amber was kind of doing something bad, so the amulet curses her by summoning an evil princess named Ivvy, hence the title. She comes from a kingdom where everything is black and white, and when she tried to dethrone her sister, she got caught and got marooned on an island.
I’ve go on about the amulet already so but seriously? She steals something and you see fit to make the kingdom deal with an evil princesses who wants to take over and stuff? Bragging=croaking and stealing=evil princesses? Huh?
Okay whatever, this actually a clever set up and it starts a really good plot. Ivy steals the amulet and plans to take it to the dragon Everburn, whose fire is the only thing that can destroy the amulet. Because of course it is. Epic-ness ensues.
There’s a lot to like here. For one, there’s pretty interesting development with Amber and Sofia as Amber has to make up for the bad stuff she did, and there are lot of interesting moments in this big adventure. Ivy is a really charming character, even before she bursts into her amazing villain song. She’s clearly having fun with everything she does (both the character and the actress) and she’s the most interesting straight forward villain we’ve had to date.
Other highlight include a trio of singing dragons named Smoke, Wings, and Fire, the best animation in the show to date, with some really nice shading and use of the whole black and white thing, and a minor line where we find out Cedric has a sister.
But we’re here to talk about princesses. Disney figured it was time to push a newer one, so I suppose it was Rapunzel’s turn. I’ll go through the connection first. Like with Mulan, the song explains it:
Once I met a man. A thief, a cad, with a selfish plan, that made me mad. Love set his heart a-glow. So sweet, so strange. But first he had to show that he could change.
Hmmm…did something bad and has to make up for it? Eh, good enough. Not the best, but it fits. Now, up to this point the princesses didn’t do a lot besides give advice and sing. Except Mulan who did a few stunts.
Rapunzel? When she first appears she saves them from this place they got trapped and she procedes to ride the dragons with them to the bad guys hide out. Yes, she actually does something to help and rides a freaking dragon!
That’s awesome! I know they did this since Rapunzel is better known to the target audience than the others, but it’s still awesome. She easily does the most, and while the connection isn’t the best, that is the 2nd best use of a princess so far.
And then there’s the ending. I’m just gonna spoil the hell out of it, so if you’re still here and REALLY don’t want spoilers, move on, cuz we’re almost done with this part.
Okay, so Ivy has been using her evil moths (can’t beliveI just typed that) to erase people’s memories, for reasons I forgot. Near the end, she attacks Sofia with this and Amber jumps out to protect her. It hits Amber and knocks out, erasing her memory. This allows Sofia to stop Ivy and save the day and yada yada yada.
So in other words, the reset button is pushed and Amber no long remembers the amulet and stuff. However, this is actually one of the best uses of Status qou is god I’ve seen. Yes, Amber does not remember what happened, but here’s the thing.
There’s actually a good in story reason for this to happen. Amber needed to make up for what she did and, as Rapunzel put it, “Dare to risk it all”. Ivy was gonna zap Sofia and take the amulet, so the only course of action was to do this. Amber doesn’t remember anything, and she proably knew that would happen, but she knew she had to risk something to earn Sofia’s trust again, lift the curse, and save the day.
And after all this happens, Amber shows she still learned something, and bonds with Sofia, even though she doesn’t remember exactly what happened. Thus, the resut button didn’t get rid of her development.
To Recap: The kept the status quo by making it so the plot needed to have her erase her memory in order to learn the lesson. She kept her development somewhat and the reset button flowed naturally from the plot and didn’t make everything pointless.
That’s….pretty impressive. I’m sure some people don’t like that they pushed the reset button, since Amber still knowing wouldn’t really change anything so now she knows not to do anything stupid, but if they had to do it, this was the best way to do it.
The way it happened reinforced the themes going on here and it felt natural. Usually, the best way to do do the status qou thing is to just go all out and give us that stuff that shouldn’t really be the status qou (Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie). But this did something more akin to across the 2nd Dimension.
Dare I say it’s possibly better? It is a more clever way to do it, after all. Anyway, so the day is saved and there’s a really nice ending.
Overall, this episode is pretty awesome. It has great songs, good animation, a well done appearance by Rapunzel, and a very well written plot with excellent development and one of the best uses of status qou is god I’ve seen.
Yeah, I guess this is my favorite Summon episode thus far, as far as episodes go. There really isn’t much to say, so let’s move on to our last Summon episode as of this writing.
Now is a good time to talk about one aspect of the princess summons that I am a bit confused about. Is this show taking place around the same timeline as all these movies they come from, are they summoned from the future/past?
I mean, I’m not sure of the timelines of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin match. They didn’t’ really say much about where they come from, so I’ve always just thought it was weird time travel. I can buy that at least Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow, and Aurora, and maybe even Ariel living around the same time, but I’m not so sure about Mulan. Also, I wonder how they found about this amulet that can somehow summon them and how they handled that?
I bring this all up because our princesses for the evening is Tiana. Needless to say, the time she’s from…is different from the show’s setting. I’ll assyme the amulet just takes them from their time periods or whatever.
By the way, Tiana explicitly states that Mama Odie told her about what is going on, so take that for what you will. But not onto the plot.
This is another “Wasallia” episode. Sofia wants to give Cedric a present, but she overhears him complaining about the cruddy presents he usual gets, so she gets out to get him something special.
Well, we’re off to a great start already.
She goes to get some Ice lilies, and while she’s out, she meets a fuan named Winter, voiced by Alsyson Hannigan. Winter explains that there’s this ice witch lady that does spells for people who bring her gifts every year on Wassailia. Last year, she asked for ice powers and needless to say, it went wrong and now she hides out here as not to freeze her family. She now wants to find a gift for Glacia and ask her to remove the ice touch.
Yeah…this is a pretty heavy plot we have here, and it’s another great one. Winter is pretty damn sympathtic and her whole story is pretty interesting. As far as episodes ago, this one of best of the Non-special princess summons.
It’s even better than Holiday in Echanicia, and improves on it’s flaws. Speaking of which, how does Tiana fair? Well, it’s the same deal as always. Winter is screwed after Clover is accidently frozen (today) and Sofia is sad. So the amulet brings Tiana out to give advice and sing about it.
(I love how Clover says “Is it Princess time?” when the amulet glows. He knows how it goes by now. This line was in the promos, too!)
Let’s see, seeing someone hoping for something getting but actually getting a crappy curse? Eh…it’s pretty flimsy, but I suppose I’ll take it. Yeah, it is one of the weaker connection but I suppose it works well enough. There’s some nice emotion with the song here, and there’s a good moral: A True gift comes from the heart.
…Corny but effective!
So with that, Sofia has Winter use her pan flute abilities as a gift for the ice witch lady and it works and the ice powers are gone. Sofia goes home, gives Cedric a wand case, and it’s a happy ending.
Hey wait a minute…someone has major trouble with ice powers? This reminds of a more recent Disney picture….Hmmm…oh yeah, Wreck it Ralph!
Jokes aside. I wonder why they picked a plot so similar to that one, when they likely knew they couldn’t get you know who yet. And guess what? Winter says she got the idea because she heard about a princesses with ice powers.
Anyway, that’s the basic plot. As a side note, there also happens to be a fox voiced by Ron Swanson, as if you needed more incentive to watch this show. He doesn’t do a lot but he has some banter with Clover which is pretty nice.
Overall, this is another great one. While Tiana wasn’t used the best, there’s that nice Christmas feeling again and there plot has a lot to like, with Winter’s plight and the whole deal with Cedric. It’s emotional and just plain well written all the way through.
I don’t have a lot else to say here. It’s just a very very good episode.
(Rank for Once Upon a Princesses-Good)
And there you go, all 9 Princess Summon episodes, reviewed. Was that pointless? Did that waste your time and pad out this post? Yes. Also, if you’re too lazy to look it up, the princesses left (ho are inducted at this time) are Pocahontas and Merida. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle them. Not to mention Elsa and Anna once they are officially inducted…
So we’ve covered literally everything but the major characters…so let’s finally get into them.
I suppose it kind of makes sense to start with Sofia, voiced by Ariel Winter. Okay, mini tangent before we start. One of the roles I know her from is Fireside Girl Gretchen from Phineas and Ferb.
There’s an episode where Sofia in that world’s version of the girl scouts. One of her friends, Jade, is voiced by Fireside Girl Katie. Want to hear the icing on the coincidence cake?
The bigger place where this show is set is called the Tri Kingdom Area. That’s…insane. Okay, rant over. With how the show is, Sofia could have easily been a canon sue, and while she can be one at times, she’s actually very likable.
That’s mostly because right from the get go, they put her in a position that will give her development and make her sympathetic. I was pretty much on board with her after her moping song. And she more or less stays likable for the rest of the show so far.
She’s always willingly to help and she’s a nice little goody girl. But there is something about her that makes her likable despite having those Canon sue qualities. A lot of her friendships, most notably with Cedric, keep things interesting and she does still learn lessons that make her develop, like in Sofia the Second.
And yes, Ariel Winter does a play a big part in that. She’s been popping up in a lot of stuff I watch I watch recently, whether it be Haunting Hour or Mr Peabody and Sherman…the latter of which features the guy who voices James. More creepy coincidences for you! Next you’ll be telling me this post will come up a few days before her birthd-OH COME ON!
Either way, she makes for a pretty likable main character. This where I would talk about Cedric…but I kind of went into him earlier. But I do have more things to add about him. He’s got this evil raven sidekick voiced by Jim Cummings. Jim also voices his father, which I find amusing for some reason. I find it amusing that sometimes Wormwood is more evil than Cedric. I bet something similar to the Pair of Kings Season 2 finale will happen..
Also, if you just take one trip to tumblr (one trip too many for most), you’ll see that he’s the most popular character, to say the least. I can’t say that is not unearned, since he is pretty awesome. He’s the snarky type and whenever a precschool show has a guy like that, he’s always gonna be the best.
And yes, there are people who ship with him Sofia. Thankfully, it’s usually the friendly kind and when it is…weird, it’s an aged up Sofia. So the internet does have SOME standards. …This time.
On that note, let’s move on. Every Princess needs an animal companion and Sofia has Clover, voiced by Wayne Brady. Is that enough incentive yet? Anyway, in the pilot, Clover tells us that animals have been helping out the classic princesses in order to get food, but most of the time they got nothing, and they aren’t happy with it. They even have a song about it!
You gotta love that little twisting of a cliché we all know. Anyway, Clover is the sassy rabbit sidekick and he’s pretty cool. He’s got a good thing going with Sofia and he usually provides an amusing moment when he’s there. Really, all I need to say is that he’s a sassy animal sidekick voiced by Wayne Brady but I guess I had to say a bit more.
…He can rap, and ….that’s cool.
Speaking of animal sidekick, Sofia has this pegaus named Minumus. In “Just one of the princes” she gets him but he’s kind of weak and she has to teach him to be ..well not so weak. There’s not a whole lot to say since he only shows up a few times. He technically belongs to the school yet sometimes Sofia carts him around freely with no explanation most of the time.
This just felt like a good place to put him. …So let’s move on to Baileywick, voiced by Tim Gunn. He’s the castle steward and usually he’s there for bits of exposition and stuff like that. But he also episodes for development, like “Baileywick’s Day Off”, “The Buttercups” and “Baileywhoops”.
The first one even has a whole song about you can “Count of Baileywick”. In the 2nd one, he becomes the over protective type which makes sense with how it’s written, and in the last one, he gets himself a nemesis in the form of another kingdom’s Steward who wants his job for whatever reason.
Yes, he has a song about it, sort of. The song switches between Sofia helping Baileywick and Slickwell being evil. It’s pretty awesome. There isn’t a lot more to say about him, so I leave you with his best quote, from Cedric’s Apprentice.
“I’m learning magic!”
“Oh, then perhaps you could teach some to Cedric.”
Snap. Also, he has a brother voiced by Jeffory Tambor.
Next, we have James, voiced by Steven Universe himself, Zach Callison. In Season 1 anyway, since apparently he got switched in Season 2, but I don’t know when since the credits for some episodes say it still Steven, but the credits for the most recent episode says it’s the new guy. So whatever.
Being the brother, he’s kind of the stupid one. Well, not exactly “stupid”….but you know what I mean, right? When he’s made king for the day in…well “King for a Day”, Amber thinks he will mess up the kingdom. He’s that type
But he’s pretty cool and of course, he’s had episodes where he learns important lessons like The Silent Knight and the aforementioned King for a Day. He provides some funny moments here and there, and anyone that sounds like Steven is okay with me. Yeah, I’ll get to that show another time.
Since I brought up Amber, let’s discuss her next. She’s the bitchy one but she’s of the really entertaining variety. She’s pretty over the top and is the stereotypical princesses who likes everything all nice and all that good stuff. “Bigger is Better” is sometimes seen as her anthem and that is very much true
I was pretty sold on her character from the pilot alone, where she is pretty sympathetic and has a nice relationship with Sofia. That continues into the show proper, and while she is bitch-y she says enjoyable, and as expected, she has quite a few development episodes.
Most notably “Princess Butterfly”, where she has to make her own costume for the Halloween/All Hallows Eve ball, and she’s jealous of Sofia’s costume, so she has Cedric magic one up for her.
But Cedric makes it so her the costume turns her into an actual Butterfly, so he can tell her the only way to fix the spell is to use sofia’s Amulet.
It’s a really good one.
Another good one is “Two Princesses and a Baby’, where doesn’t like that she has to share everything with James, (being her twin and all), so she asks Cedric to make it so he has a different birthday so they don’t have to share anything. But Cedric messes up and turns James into a baby. I’d say hilarity ensues but it ends up being a pretty sweet story with some nice development for their relationship.
Really, the time where her bitchy-ness is too much was actually King for a Day. She keeps insisting that James will ruin the kingdom, and it does get a bit annoying after a while, especially after the events of TPAAB. Did I mention the writer of this episode is mostly known for Modern Spongebob?
…No, I don’t know how you go from that to a Disney Junior show. By the way, the episode directly after that is an Amber centered one, so I guess the writers knew they went too far there. Either way, Amber is pretty awesome, and along with Cedric, she’s one of the most enjoyable/interesting characters.
The rest of the characters don’t leave me with a lot to say, but we’ll see what I can do. There’s King Roland and Queen Miranda, who mostly fill the roles they are given and that’s it. However, they work pretty well and anytime Sofia’s relationship with them is explored is nice.
I don’t know Miranda has had any huge development on her own, but Roland had some in “The Baker King” where he gets sick of of his hetic king life, and wishes he was a humble baker instead. They just happened to install magic mirror on that same day so poof, he is now a humble baker and his family now lives in the village.
This is was a cool story, but there were some logic problems. Okay, so the wish made it so he is a baker, and everyone says they know him as the baker, showing that they changed the world so that he was always a baker.
…Except they find out that Roland’s duties from before still need to be done, and the kingdom is wondering where the king is. In other words stuff at the castle is the same and they know about the king…yet things have changed so people know Roland as the baker and…yeah, it’s pretty confusing.
I think it would have been more interesting if they changed it so someone else became king instead of Roland, so they had to get past a lot to get back in the castle and fix the wish. But ah well, it’s a minor flaw in a good episode.
Also, in “When You Wish Upon a Well”, Amber stumbles upon a talking wishing well (that looks really creepy, by the way) and later, Roland reveals he made a wish with it long ago…but he says that’s another story. That’s right, they leave a little mystery open.
That’s…interesting for a show like this. I wonder if we’ll ever find out what his wish was…
Then we have Sofia’s friends, Ruby and Jade. You know how some shows have those characters that don’t do a lot and are just there to have friend characters when the plot demands it? Yeah, that’s what they are here for
There’s nothing really wrong with them, and they occainsey get some level of character,(Like in The Little Witch) but they aren’t really that interesting. Sometimes they make for okay stories, like in The Big Sleepover or Four’s a Crowd but they aren’t used as well as they could. Maybe if they had more kooky personalities or something.
Or perhaps they could use Vivian a bit more often. Voiced by Sabrina Carpenter and introduced in The Shy Princess, Vivian is…well shy. In her debut episode, she was too reserved and shy to really come out and do anything, but with the help of Sofia, (and a song) she came out of her shell and it was all very heartwarming.
She was pretty interesting but for whatever reason, they don’t use her that often. Oh, she’s appeared a few times, but not in a hugely meaningful way. I think Enchanted Science Fair and Scrambled Pets were her biggest appearances after Shy Princesses and those were a whole season later. And in both cases, she’s only there to fill out the friend quota and in the latter…well..
The writers clearly favor her pet dragon, Crackle. She’s the small kind of dragon, don’t worry. She’s more or less the opposite of Vivian, as she is pretty outgoing and excitable. She also has a thing for Clover. …Yeah.
Compared to Vivian, she’s more a lot of appearances. She’s more 4 other meaningful appearances after her debut, which is more than poor Vivian. Now, Crackle is pretty enjoyable, and gets very good development in Scrambled Pets and The Leafsong Festival .
But I think Vivian should be as prominent as Ruby and Jade, perhaps even more so. It’s weird that her pet does more than she does!
Speaking of characters that didn’t seem to do much, there are these bird characters named Mia and Robin that mostly served as helper helpers and nothing more. For character who appear a lot, they didn’t have a lot to them. The most interesting aspect to them is the fact that Robin is voiced by the creepy paw pilot from Special Agent Oso.
Speaking of which, the main director for this show previously worked on that one. Talk about a HUUUUUGE difference in quality. Anyway, in the The Leafsong Festival, they finally got their own little subplot with some much needed development for them. That helped make the episode as great as it is.
Let’s see…who is left? There are some minor princesses/princes, like Amber’s little group of friends who appear sometimes. Of those 3, only Hildegard has been hugely important, due to some interesting development she got in one episode.
There’s Prince Hugo, this little asshole dude who, too, got important development in one episode. He was in that early Season 2 trend of bringing bac one important one short characters. Speaking of which, we also have Aunt Tilly, voiced by Bonnie Hunt.
Appearing in “The Great Aunt-venture” and “The Silent Knight” she’s very much the Mary Poppins type. She’s very entertaining and was pretty charming in both those episodes.
And I think that’s every semi-important character I know. At least until one shotters like Gizmo Gwen appear again but I think I’ve gone on enough already. (Though Gwen was mentioned in Ghostly Gala).
Needless to say, this is a pretty likable cast of characters, who are a large of part it’ success. Being voiced by excellent actors helps as well.
So what more can I say before we close off? I’ve already gone way longer than I should have. It’s gone over the premise, the main reasons the show is good, the animation, the songs, the 9 princesses episodes, and all the characters.
I’m pretty sure I’ve gone into every little aspect about the show I deemed important, without going specifics I didn’t care for talking about. I’m guess that kind of guy.
When I’m invested in any show, I’ll go on about and get into a little kick for it, which is why I talked about it when I did.
This series stands as one of those preschool shows that works very very well. I think one of the main reasons is the plot…in that it has one.
A lot of preschool shows, modern ones anyway, won’t have a lot in the way of a plot. The ones that do it use it to do a formula or more or less do the same stuff. I like stuff like Doc McStuffins, but this show manages to be a lot like…an actual show.
There’s a bigger world here, with actual character development that has stuck over the time. There’s no real formula going on here, and each episode gives us something different.
Now, Backyardigans got away with this by having a formula that made it so something very different could be in each episode, and thus, it worked really well. Lazy Town came close to this, but it does have a formula. It works in spite of that and is often a bit more entertaining with it’s humor, but I gotta give major credit to this one.
It might be a little slow at times, especially in Season 1 , but overall. Sofia the First is a very good preschool show. Even forgetting how it stands against its kin, it stills offers kids good messages, relatable characters, and a lot to like. ‘
It gives us some fairly interesting stories, good morals, solid animation, a likable heroine, a very entertaining and interesting group of characters (back up excellent voice actors) an awesome main villain, fantastic songs, and that good ol’ Disney feeling.
Like I said before, the way they use the Disney elements is great, by either making direct references, using the tropes, the Princess Summon episodes, and just the general feel.
Even if this type of show isn’t your cup of tea, we can all agree it’s fairly acceptable preschool programing, compared to a lot of what’s out there. It’s gotten quite the fandom, it seems, and it’s pretty easy to see why.
It’s got a lot to offer, and it’s just a solid show all around. If it sounds like you will like it in any way, check it out. There’s not a whole a lot in terms of DVD’s (there are a few, but together, they mostly have just a good chunk of Season 1 and that’s it), but I’m pretty sure it’s on the usual place like iTunes and the a lot.
Disney Junior is also pretty generous with the reruns, but if you’re like a normal person, you’ll want in an online source to watch it in secret.
And that’s all I gotta say. It’s good, it deserves its fandom, and it’s worth checking out for some adults, and pretty much any kid.
And now I can start referencing it obnoxiously in my reviews!