Around 30 years ago, The Mysterious Cities of Gold ended its first series with our heroes, Esteban, Tao and Zia flying off into the sunset in the Golden Condor. And that was it. Despite them only having found one of the seven lost cities of gold, the series concluded in an oddly satisfying yet open-ended way.
While a second series had always been planned, it never materialised and so fans were left with occasional re-runs on The Children’s Channel on Sky in the early 1990s and fond memories of a show that seemed to be lost to time. Then, in 2008, the series was finally released on DVD and proved to be a hit with fans both new and old, leading the way for the new seasons to be greenlit and put into production. Arriving on the Kix Channel in the bottom end of the Sky TV kid’s channels, the second series of Mysterious Cities debuted in December.
Sticking with the same character designs and picking up where the first series left off, the story sees the three children and adults Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho heading to China in search of the next lost city of gold and the truth about Esteban’s father. On their journey they are joined by an alchemist named Ambrosius, encounter shaolin monks and dangers from pirates and a hooded figure named Zares!
If you grew up remembering the original series or discovered it on DVD recently, it takes a little time to get used to the things that have been updated. While the character designs are the same, the animation style has been tweaked, giving it the look at times of a cutscene from a (albeit stylish) video game. Then there are the new voice actors and the new take on the theme tune.
These are minor quibbles that you soon get used to or forget about as you get sucked into the story and the characters. You realise that you’re just glad to have them back and for the story to continue, even if it is lacking in some of the wonder and magic of the original series.
It’s a testament to the makers that they have stuck so true to the original series, especially in their choice to follow on from a 30-year-old cartoon rather than just rehash it for a new audience. Speaking of a new audience, my four-year-old son loved this series and was completely hooked. So much so that he is now watching the original series and loving that too. And that can only be a good thing!
Repeats of Season 2 of The Mysterious Cities of Gold are currently showing on the Kix Channel and will be released on DVD in February 2014.