Thanks to the UK getting the series release early, I have managed to see the first five episodes of Big Hero 6: The Series. What did I think?
Well first off, my initial guess of the series probably being filler has been pretty much correct. A lot of it is just random, lighthearted adventures of our beloved heroes. The only episode that seems to actually add anything to the movie’s lore is Fred’s Bro-Tillion, which gives us more of Fred’s family.
I will admit, Fred’s Bro-Tillion and another episode, Food Fight, which is a Cass-centric episode, were actually very enjoyable and fun. After Issue 188 (the one that introduced the new, unappealing character of Karmi) left a bad taste in my mouth and Big Roommates (that had Honey move in with Gogo) ended up being mostly boring, those episodes did actually make me smile and keep me invested. Food Fight was a fun episode that gave us more of Cass, her interests outside of Hiro and the cafe, and a legitimately cool villain (and Gordon Fucking Ramsay makes a cameo) and Fred’s Bro-Tillion had a lot of great jokes and Stan Lee is awesome. Those episodes were genuinely good (not great, but good and fun). It does give me some hope that the show might not be a total garbage fire. But the show still pales in comparison to what it could have been.
I’m starting to suspect that budget is a huge issue with the show. The animation is just so stiff and clunky and the style has been polarizing for a lot of people. I know I can’t expect movie quality animation, but there are other Disney shows that have fluid, beautiful animation. Just compare it to the Tangled series and there’s a huge difference. The writing is also hugely hit or miss. I can’t say it’s because Disney had no faith in the project since they’ve already renewed it for a second season, but I have a feeling there’s a low morale among the crew. I mean if you ask people if they want a proper BH6 sequel or a lower budget cartoon follow up made for kids, they’ll probably go for the sequel.
While it’s still a little too early to tell, it doesn’t look like the characters are getting the development everyone was asking for. Wasabi in particular is kind of getting the short end of the stick, behaving more cowardly and anal than he was in the movie. Baymax is mostly used for comic relief and getting his mechanisms messed with than being the heart and soul of the team he actually is. The only character who seems to be actually getting anything consistently is Fred. In fact the show seems to focus more on Hiro’s relationship with Fred than anyone else. At least Honey and Gogo are badass female characters are usual.
A lot of the villains are more like comic relief than actual threats. I know there’s supposed to be a Big Bad that’s actually intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have villains with some credibility. I also find if baffling there are a few instances where our heroes just…let the villains get away. Like you’re not even going to try to stop them? That kind of cements the fact that the villains aren’t a real threat. If you put any of them in the same room as Yokai he’d kick their asses.
But I think the major problem with the show–as someone else pointed out–is the lack of real HEART. The original movie had everything: exciting action, clever comedy, layered characters, a chilling villain, but, most of all, an emotional core about love, loss, forgiveness and healing. The show, on the other hand, is mostly just comedy. Baymax Returns touched on the heart a little, but didn’t have the same emotional impact as the first movie. The fact that we don’t see Hiro and Baymax interact as much in the series when they were practically inseparable in the first movie says a lot.
So yeah, unless there’s a major twist for the season finale, I don’t think the show is going to be anything really special. The show will probably get better, but it already made it clear it’s mostly just a kid’s comedy rather than a legit continuation of the first movie.
And with that, I think I’ve gotten everything I feel about the series out of the way. Now I can focus on my other interests before the actual sequel eventually comes out.