At Your Leisure – The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

by John L. Davis IV

Nostalgia. I’ve used the word many times. As defined by Merriam-Webster: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.
I’ve been stricken with a bit of a nostalgia bug lately, and really, it’s all because of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I’ve been watching a lot of the movies I loved as a kid, i.e.; The Goonies, The Explorers, Flight of the Navigator, Cloak and Dagger, et al.
The Dark Crystal was a 1982 Jim Henson feature film. I was 8 at the time. The movie was both terrifying and thrilling to me, and I loved it, every minute.
As always, I carry a deep skepticism when I hear that someone is doing a new show or movie based on something I hold in such high nostalgic regard, but I was going to watch it, ready with my trusty pen and overinflated sense of self-righteous indignation.
Well, after 10 episodes, binged over a period of 3 days, I can say, without a doubt, this is one of the rare times when a company got it right, at least in this viewers opinion. Not just a little right, or kinda right or mostly right, but full-on right.
I absolutely loved The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
The story is a prequel tale, taking place many years before the events of the original movie. The Skeksis are an alien race who have made themselves both the keepers of the Crystal of Truth and the overlords of all of the planet Thra.
When it is discovered that the Skeksis are harming the crystal, Thra itself and Gelflings, in an effort to prolong their own lives indefinitely, the Gelflings Rian, Brea, and Deet begin a quest to convince the rest of the Gelflings that the Skeksis aren’t the benevolent rulers they claim to be, but convincing the seven clans to abandon their fealty to the Skeksis, while trying to evade capture (or worse) proves to be a brutally challenging endeavor.
The story is fun and thrilling, with numerous characters brought to life by so many talented actors, artists and puppeteers.
Yep, you read that correctly, puppeteers. The show has stayed true to the roots of the original Jim Henson production, using only very limited CGI or graphical techniques. The series is something of a revival of classic puppetry and old-school animatronics, and it is glorious.
An interesting factoid: Brian and Wendy Froud both worked on the original movie, as well as on the Jim Henson film Labyrinth. Their son, who worked on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance in design, is Toby Froud, whose first starring role was as the baby (the power of the babe!) Toby in Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth. (Also, Wendy Froud was one of the original puppeteers for Yoda.)
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a wonderful, epic glimpse both forward and back, into a fantasy world that can only grow larger and more wonderful from here. Keep your eye out for Hup, the little podling with a spoon who sees himself as a Paladin. He’s my favorite character in the whole first season.

For those of you who remember The Dark Crystal the way I do, I hope Age of Resistance instills in you the same feeling of nostalgia that it has for me.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a Netflix Exclusive, and the first season is now available to stream.