It may be hard to believe but it’s been three years since we were all introduced to Baymax — irrevocably changing the way we bump fists forever. Now, Disney XD is bringing everyone’s favorite personal healthcare robot and the rest of the Big Hero 6 crew to television for a new series that kicks off with an hour premiere tonight, November 20th. So how do the latest adventures of Hiro and his friends compare to the original film?
While the premiere is billed as “Baymax Returns,” the rest of the Big Hero 6 are back as well, including Hiro, Wasabi, Gogo, Honey Lemon, and Fred. Additionally, the majority of the original voice talent has signed on for the series, although Wasabi and Fred — formerly voiced by Damon Wayans Jr. and T.J. Miller — have been replaced by Khary Payton and Brooks Wheelan respectively. Jenifer Lewis also joins the cast as one of Hiro’s nerd school professors.
Another difference you’ll surely notice when watching Big Hero 6: The Series is the animation style. Like with Disney Channel’s Tangled: The Series and other animated spin-offs before it, Big Hero also adopts a new look that I can’t say I’m crazy about. That said, while it may be a jarring change in the first few minutes, I suppose it grew on me as the story wore on.
Speaking of story, the premiere’s first half seemingly takes place in between a few of the film’s final moments. In the show (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie), we see Hiro set off for his first day of nerd school, find Baymax’s programming chip clutched in his friend’s former hand, and eventually bring the beloved robot back to life. However, this telling shows us that this process wasn’t as simple as the film’s touching ending would have us believe, setting off a series of events that promises major ramifications.
The problem with this execution is that the premiere spends a little bit too much time dwelling on things we already know. Specifically, the continued mourning of Tadashi throughout the episode is kind of overkill and doesn’t do much to drive the plot. Instead, it’s the fan-favorite Fred who helps move the show along as he tries to convince the gang to don their super suits and take to the streets for what he calls “night patrol.” To be sure, this pilot is at its best when the team is in fight mode and we have Fred to thank for some of the show’s standout moments so far.
As you can probably tell, Big Hero 6: The Series didn’t exactly wow me, even as a major fan of the film. However, given some bright spots in the premiere (and a big tease at the end), I’m optimistic about subsequent installments. One of the things I’d like to see from the show is a deeper exploration of fantastic San Fransokyo setting. Additionally, the series seems like a perfect opportunity to learn more about the other the other four in the Big Hero team not named Hiro or Baymax. I guess what I’m saying is, of all my hopes for the Big Hero 6: The Series, my biggest is that they don’t get bogged down too much in an overarching plot but take the time to focus on the great characters and world they created for the film in the first place.
Overall, I give Big Hero 6: The Series 3 out of 5 Ancient Amulets (it’s probably an emerald).
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV