MAKUU, KION

Following the success of the telefilm that launched The Lion Guard, the first original episode airs on Disney Channel at 10 ET/PT on Friday, January 15. When a crocodile named Makuu takes over as leader of the crocodiles and his aggressive antics send the Pride Lands into chaos, Kion questions whether to intervene or respect animal traditions. Blair Underwood, who has recently appeared on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. guest stars as Makuu.

It was great to see that the latest Disney Junior series continues the trend of Miles from Tomorrowland of being a show that can be watched by both the youngest of kids and their parents. The show still features educational content, bright colors, and accessible plots, while not having elements of other preschool shows that make them unwatchable to grown ups.

By encouraging co-viewing, parents can share the experience with their child. The show has educational content, but by being something they can enjoy together, The Lion Guard will enrich children through the interactions the show encourages parents to have with their children.

As Disney fans, we have been hurt by poor exploitations of our favorite franchises in the past. While The Lion Guard is obviously designed on a Disney Junior scale, it does nothing to tarnish the amazing legacy of The Lion King and will hopefully introduce young viewers to the world of the Pride Lands.

With a talented voice cast, and better than expected animation, The Lion Guard is something all Disney Junior shows should try an emulate. I am particularly excited about an upcoming episode where Jason Marsden, Andy Dick and Lacey Chabert reprise their roles as Kovu, Nuka and Vitani, respectively, from The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.

With The Lion Guard, Disney Junior continues its string of quality programming. I hope the upcoming Fancy Nancy series, based on the successful book series, will continue that trend. The Lion Guard airs as part of the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel and on Disney Junior.