I adore this series so much, that I’ve forgotten the level that I loved this series. That is until I recently rewatched the show on Netflix. Let me elaborate; back in the ’90s and early 2,000’s, I was obsessed with this series, as it was the first book series that I truly fell in love with.
So, what the hell is this book about? At its core, it is about a group of teens (Jake, Marco, Rachel, Cassie, and Tobias), who discover an alien (whose species is Andelite), from a crashed spaceship named Elfangor. Elfangor, gives them the power to morph into any animal they touch to stop Visser 3 and his army of Yerks, Hork Bajir, and Taxxons.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of exposition in the first book/episode of the show, but, I feel that that’s because the story’s scope IS that epic and intimate at the same time. While growing up, reading these books, I fell in love with them, for the same reason I fell in love with Spiderman comics. It was because I grew up with the characters I could easily relate to their problems or at least their real-world and metaphorical problems.
For example, I really related to Tobias feeling like I was a neurotic social outcast. I also really fell for Rachel, growing up like Tobias did because she was willing to be with Tobias, even after he got himself stuck with the body of a hawk (by being morphed into one for more than two Earth hours).
I found that really romantic, in a modern Beauty and the Beast sort of way, with an interesting and original spin to it. That was probably the girliest thing I’ve said in a while…..moving on then. I also really liked Jake and thought that he had one of the most mature, emotional journeys I have ever seen in the literature. He had to go from being just a normal kid to a badass fighter and commander in a war, with a seemingly invisible and infinite enemy.
There are SO many amazing characters and great things about the Animorphs book series, that I implore you to check them out. Hell, even the spin-offs are incredible.
HOWEVER, I wish I could say the same thing about the show. It’s good, fun and decently acted (especially by Shawn Ashmore, Brooke Nevin, Paulo Costanzo, Joshua Peace, Boris Cabrera, and Christopher Ralph), but, the actors who aren’t taking it seriously, REALLY ham it up. It also tries to get the massive scope of the books and is the most successful with episodes with the Ellimist, but even that is just ok.
It sadly falls too often into the “monster of the week”, formula most 90’s shows seemed to be a slave to.
All in all though, if you want a great YA series to check out, I HIGHLY recommend Animorphs.