Review: Mysterious Cities of Gold – Season 2 / Cert: PG / Director: Jean-Luc Francois / Screenplay: Various / Release Date: February 10th
Making a sequel to a beloved TV series almost 30 years after the original ended is a risky business to say the least. Not only are you looking to do it in a way that will engage your new, younger audience, but you also have to appeal to the fan base that grew up with the series all those years ago. It’s a fine balancing act that Blue Spirit Animation have largely gotten right with the second series of Mysterious Cities of Gold.
The story picks up a short time after the first series ended, with our heroes meeting up again in Barcelona. After a jailbreak, they set off to China in search of the next city of gold. As with the first series, the less you know about the story, the more enjoyment there is to be had from it, and while it is fair to say that some of the wonder and magic of the original series is lacking here, it is still a compelling and engaging story that you soon become engrossed in again.
If you are a fan of the original series, there are some things that take a little getting used to. The first is the theme tune. Not only has the opening narration been removed completely, but the main theme has been altered to have more of an oriental sound to it. It grates a little at first, a bit like your favourite singer reimagining your favourite song, you get used to it and actually start to love it.
The second is the new voice cast. All of the voice actors do a fine job and you soon settle into their performances and after a while mostly don’t notice it. If anything Mendoza is the toughest voice to get used to, but that is only because Howard Ryshpan gave such a distinctive performance as the character in the original series, it’s difficult to imagine any other voice coming out of Mendoza’s mouth.
The updated animation has a clean, sharp and bright look to it that both honours the original and updates it for its new audience, while still giving the show a unique look that sets it apart from most other cartoons on TV at the moment. It’s a testament to the creative team that they have managed to produce a series that is so respectful of what came before, following the plans for the series that were laid out by Jean Chalopin all those years ago.
While it has to be said that this series does lack some of the magic and wonder that the original revelled in at times, its storytelling is tight, managing to be compelling and engaging throughout. Like the first series, it is ideal box set viewing and after waiting the best part of 30 years for this one, Season 3 can’t come soon enough.
Extras: Series guide booklet