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New for Nerd Kids: Netflix Original Trollhunters

Winter holidays, day 2: for hours, the kids have been snuggled together on the couch, eyes glued to new Netflix original series Trollhunters.

OK, fine, you got me. I’ve been sitting right in the middle of them, eagerly pressing “play next” every 23 minutes.

Trollhunters was created for DreamWorks Animation by Guillermo del Toro, whose credits include personal favorites Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and The Hobbit. It’s also packed with incredible voice talent: Ron Perlman as villain Bular, Kelsey Grammer as trainer Blinky, and Anton Yelchin as reluctant hero Jim. (Trollhunters was Yelchin’s last project before his tragic death.)

Del Toro is best known for the elaborate worlds he creates for his projects, and the setting of Trollhunters is no exception. In the show’s mythology, trolls have existed alongside man, hidden outside the perception of most humans, for centuries. Trollkind has long been divided between good trolls, who seek peaceful, if invisible, coexistence with man, and Gumm-Gumm trolls, who seek to restore their vanquished ruler (and Bular’s father) from the Darklands.

The good trolls have a single hero, the Trollhunter, who is selected by a magical amulet that has passed between Trollhunters for centuries. When the last Trollhunter, Kanjigar the Courageous, was felled by Bular, the amulet threw a curveball by selecting human Jim as the next Trollhunter — a position that had never been held by anyone but a troll before. The series chronicles Jim’s transformation from reluctant hero to full-fledged Trollhunter as he and faithful friend Toby learn about the strange world the amulet has thrust them into.

Trollhunters is good fun, but it’s not a perfect show. I was disappointed in the way that Toby is often reduced to slapstick humor based on being fat (such as the Fitbit-esque “chubby tracker” that he wears, his constant snacking, and his inability to put on his own socks).

Despite its shortcomings, Netflix knew exactly what they were doing with the timing of this release, as Trollhunters is the perfect holiday binge with the kids.

Now, pass the popcorn and press “play next,” please.

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