When the previews for this show first aired in the summer of 1983, I knew it was special and could not wait for the premier on September 17th--just weeks into 6th grade for me! The moment I saw Prince Yubi, my heart jumped! This show was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Even Star Wars, six years before, did not capture my imagination quite so fiercely! Unlike Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Prince Yubi was someone I, as an 11 year old with a challenging life, could really relate to! He was struggling with real problems--like finding food, being too smart for his own good, having people think he was too young to work, and being mis-understand by people. And then there was that one special episode, "Good-bye Earth" which I think every person should watch for its amazing performances by actor Christopher Burton. In Good-bye Earth, the real pain and sorrow of Yubi's exile is finally revealed to all of us. This time on Earth is not fun for him! It's agonizing. He tells us that he is crying himself to sleep because he misses his mother and his home so much!
This is something that as an 11 year old at the time, and as a 30 something today, I can deeply relate to. Christopher Burton's performance of this episode is flawless! Why no one gave him an emmy award for it is beyond me because he deserved many awards for his acting skill in this episode. The tears he cries in these scenes are clearly very real! They make you really feel the prince's heart and soul!
Even though the series was obviously written towards its target audience, particularly in hindsight, and at points shows its low budget and 1983 date in terms of special effects (the matte shots used are obvious by today's CGI standards), the writing and especially the acting by not only Christopher Burton (though as the star, it is his job to hold this show together--which he does so well--remarkably well for a 7 year old at the time!) by the entire ensemble really makes this show hold the test of time! Which is why children under the age of 10 years old, younger than I was when it first aired, are still reviewing it!
This is a classic and far superior in writing, acting, and over all quality to what I see shown for children today. I should add that in university I received a degree in film and film writing with an emphasis in family audiences from the University of Nebraska Lincoln through the Integrated Studies Program. Just the first of three majors--the second was Psychology and the third was history. So I do know something about film theory and criticism! I have a rather strong background in this and do not give high marks to a series lightly!
But this series does meet my rigorous standards for quality family entertainment...and for the kind of writing that will truly make you weep at all the right moments.
Maybe this was written for me at the age I was in 1983, but I think I enjoy it even more in 2010/2011! With an education in film, which including some acting classes, I appreciate these performances so much more. Even the Antarian costumes (to the limited extent we see them!) were wonderful! I just wish these amazing pieces had more screen time! Hit pause on your DVD in the opening credits to really see the prince's Antarian tunic--the lacing, piping, and other details are absolutely beautiful!
Yubi is a truly magnificent prince and liege lord!
One other thing to just let you all know...since I have watched this series in full about 20 times in about 10 weeks...Yubi's age is not specified. He is simply "young"...watch "Gold Mine" and it will be clear that Antarians do not age the same as Earthlings. Yubi's mother (Lisa LeMole), who looks about 22 in the show, was an adult and queen over 80 Antarian years ago! More likely than not, Prince Yubi is in his 20s-40s in Antarian years.
I should remind everyone that Tolkien hobbits do not come of age until the age of 33. We just do not know how old the age of majority is for an Antarian. That could be 60 Antarian years!
In summary, this is the finest series of the early 1980s. It holds a very special place in my heart. I hope you will watch it and agree with me. Christopher Burton is the finest actor of generation X. I really wish he had continued acting after "The Neverending Story Part 2". He was so brilliant as Prince Yubi!