REVIEW: ‘Wizards: Tales of Arcadia’ is Wonderful Conclusion

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Wizards: Tales of Arcadia is a limited series developed by DreamWorks Animation Television for Netflix. It is also the third part of the “Tales of Arcadia” series developed by Guillermo del Toro. Taking place after the events of Trollhunters and 3BelowWizards follows  Hisirdoux “Douxie” Casperan (Colin O’Donoghue) who is the apprentice of the legendary wizard Merlin (David Bradley). Douxie and several heroes including Trollhunter Jim Lake (Emile Hirsch) are flung back in time to Camelot, where they must repair the timeline. All the while an evil presence looms in the background.

Wizards is fairly shorter than Trollhunters and 3Below, clocking in at only 10 episodes. Yet this isn’t to its detriment; it manages to pack a LOT of stories into those 10 episodes and not feel overstuffed. Even better, we get to see how certain events that were alluded to in Trollhunters actually played out. From Blinky and AAARRRGGGHHH!!! befriending each other to the rise of the first Trollhunter, these events are seeded throughout episodes and remind you how far these characters have come.

The series also has a unique take on Arthurian lore. King Arthur, who’s usually a noble figure, is shown to be cold and distrusting of magical creatures. Morgana le Fay serves as Merlin’s apprentice and seeks justice for her fellow magical beings; she is a far cry from the power-mad sorceress we saw in Trollhunters‘ third season. As the series rolls on, you see why Arthur has grown distrustful of magic and how Morgana became the self-proclaimed “Mother of Monsters”. Morgana’s journey is especially compelling because she genuinely starts out with good intentions; you know she’ll wind up a villain but it still manages to hit you in the heart when she embraces the dark.

The main characters also show remarkable growth. Perhaps the characters that go through the most growth are Douxie and Claire (Lexi Medrano). Douxie is trying to prove to Merlin that he can be a great wizard; Claire is trying to save Jim from a ghastly fate while wrestling with the Shadow Magic she and Morgana harness. The two connect over their shared magical skills and forge a genuine bond; it’s nice to see a platonic relationship between a male and female protagonist given just as much weight as a romantic one. Alfred Molina is also a scene-stealer as the shape-shifting familiar Archie.

Another refreshing aspect of the series is that Douxie doesn’t always win. He makes mistakes. He oversteps and is unsure of himself. So often, stories feature a capable and skilled protagonist so it’s great to see a guy who isn’t 100% perfect. I also enjoyed his relationship with Merlin; not only are they student and master, but there’s also a father/son bond between them. This is highlighted in an emotionally devastating scene in the final episode where Merlin praises Douxie for his accomplishments. I teared up watching it because I love father/son bonds in stories.

If there’s one issue I have, it’s that certain characters could be utilized better. Jim doesn’t get much to do throughout the series, as he is mostly dealing with a life-threatening injury. Similarly, 3Below‘s Krel Tarron (Diego Luna) also has a woefully small part. I understand that you can only do so much in 10 episodes, but I would have liked to see more of them (though the final episode hints at a new destiny for Jim.)

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia is a wonderful conclusion to one of the greatest animated universes ever created, featuring a fresh take on Arthurian lore and stringing together three different series. A feature film, Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, is in the works for 2021; I can’t wait to see how del Toro and crew bring it all to a close.

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia is currently streaming on Netflix.

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia is a wonderful conclusion to one of the greatest animated universes ever created, featuring a fresh take on Arthurian lore and stringing together three different series. A feature film, Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, is in the works for 2021; I can’t wait to see how del Toro and crew bring it all to a close.