LEGO’s Hidden Side Revealed on TV with Night of the Harbinger

30 Oct

null 35By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Please check local listings for broadcast times in the UK, USA and elsewhere.
Played on YTV in Canada, Oct 30, 4:00pm PST

Spoiler Alert

Unless you’ve been avoiding going to the toy stores and have not been playing with LEGO’s Hidden Side product line, the cartoon series (available online) can easily be missed. To have a debut on television with a Halloween special (“Night of the Harbinger”) is a surprise; newcomers will be scratching their heads.

Jumping into this special is not as understandable as going back to fond franchises–Legends of Chima or Ninjago. At least with these older properties, it’s easy to tell one is an anthropomorphic King Arthur style fantasy and the other about Ninjas kicking butt Power Rangers’ style. Both were designed to help sell the toys, and the world building was fantastic. Hidden Side is essentially Ghostbusters the animated series, but with fancier tech. The products are cool because there’s an augmented reality component.

The official description for the toys, “invites kids to join a fearless team of ghost hunters, who dare see the unseen and help turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. This new theme includes a series of haunted building sets full of awesome functionality and secret surprises that, on their own, provide the build and role-play fun of any LEGO theme. Activating the free augmented reality app brings the models to life, revealing a hidden world of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve. When combined, the two worlds make each other even more interesting and fun. The app also comprises a digital game that kids can play independent of the building set.”

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J.B. (L.C. Curci) leads the team of hunters. and they deal with cases around the town of Newbury. For years, Lady E has been preventing some souls from reaching the afterlife, and pretty soon, the murders going on have been piling up. A few individuals teamed up and after many adventures, the tides have turned.

“Night of the Harbinger” sees Jack and Parker discovering a portal to another world, and they have to find a means to close it. They don’t know if that figure, a double of Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, is friend or foe. The real villain, however, is The Maw who looks like it can audition for a role in Stranger Things, or should that be Little Shop of Horrors?

This series doesn’t have the same phantasmagorical draw and appeal as Ninago’s terrific season five and six featuring ghosts, curses and demons, and the special which followed. Dan and Kevin Hageman‘s writing defined how nasty that spirit world is, and I’m surprised there’s no crossover! After The LEGO Movie, I firmly believe all these worlds can be joined.

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