Every now and again an animated series comes out that is just so good that everyone stands up and takes notice. These programs have the perfect blend of excellent animation and involving story to reach audiences well beyond the target age, and pull them into the world the characters inhabit. "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Gargoyles" were some of the first, and were later followed by "Justice League," "Justice League Unlimited," and "Teen Titans." The most recent show like this is "Avatar; the Last Airbender." These are the kind of programs that "Skyland" clearly wants to emulate - unfortunitly, it gets only half the equation right.
The first thing that you will notice about "Skyland" is the graphics - and they are amazing. Everything is done in a cell-shaded style that does not quite look like anything that I have seen before, with instantly recognizable characters and beautiful scenery. On top of that, the musical score is top notch, giving a truly beautiful atmosphere to the series that I haven't seen since "Samurai Jack." it isn't until the characters open their big mouths that the problems start arising. See, while the visuals and music are very impressive, the show falls flat on the parts that really matter - namely, a good plot and likable characters. The plot is about as deep as a kiddie pool; in the the far future, the world is split into many different floating islands, and is ruled by the Sphere, an Evil Empire (because really, what other kind of Empire is there?). The only hope for the world is a bunch of Gallant Rouges and a two kids, a brother named Mahad and a sister named Lena. The sister has special powers and has a mysterious destiny, natch. Of course, the threadbare plot could be forgiven if the characters themselves were memorable - unfortunitly, they're not. Most of the voice actors are terrible, and the dialog is extremely stilted. a good example is Mahad, who not only is your standard "lovable idiot" cliche (minus the lovable), but speaks in constant never-ending one liners. Oslo, the main villain, is especially disappointing - he's an uninteresting, stereotypical villain that constantly monologues about his Diabolical Plans, laughs evilly for absolutely no reason, and screams "Nooooooo!" whenever his Diabolical Plans Are Inevitably Foiled.
The art is beautiful, and the show has promise, but the lame plot and unimaginative characters keep this show from being anything but average.