If you marry the worlds of the X-Men School for the Gifted, and Harry Potter with a Futurama sense of humor, you’d have Skylanders Academy. I was treated to a special screening of the first two episodes of this show recently at The London in West Hollywood and had a wonderful interview with cast members Ashley Tisdale (Stealth Elf), Harland Williams (Hugo) and showrunner Eric Rogers (Futurama).
Skylanders Academy is an animated action-comedy series that follows the heroic adventures of the Skylanders team, a ragtag group of heroes with unique elemental skills who travel the vast Skylands universe, protecting it from evil-doers. They achieve victory by setting aside their egos, learning to trust one another and fighting as one to maintain harmony and balance in the land.
Led by showrunner Eric Rogers (Futurama), the series features the voices of Justin Long (Ask Me Anything) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, Phineas and Ferb) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live) as Glumshanks, and Harland Williams (Superstar, Dumb and Dumber) as Hugo. Additional voice talent includes Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, James Hetfield, Catherine O’Hara, and Chris Diamantopoulos. How’s that for a line up?
My first impression of this show is that the story is not like anything I’ve ever seen before in kids animation. Eric created the world based on the very popular Activision Blizzard video game and it’s AB’s first foray into creating an animated series based on their games. Skylanders requires toy action figures to play the game and has made $3 billion dollars in revenue proving the franchise’s popularity. Now Activision Blizzard Studios and Netflix are hoping that popularity translates into an animated series. So much so, it’s already been given the green light for a second season.
And I can tell you I don’t think they’ll have any troubling finding an audience for this show. With the rise in popularity of superhero movies and of course the hugely successful world of Harry Potter, I think kids and parents will find this show to be a great addition to their Saturday morning cartoon line-up. Eric tells me he hopes the humor will appeal to both parents and kids and based off of what I saw, he nailed it.
I loved having the chance to get to know Ashley Tisdale better and talk to her about her role on this show. She plays a very strong female character called Stealth Elf and I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of kids dressed up like her at the next Comic Con or next Halloween.
Ashley also tells me she gets asked all the time when she’s going to have kids but says she’s in no rush. She says she’s focusing on producing and other projects right now and doesn’t feel any pressure to start a family just yet. My hope is that she’ll come back on my show when she does! She also gives some hints about her plans to release more music so make sure you listen to the interview.
Harland Williams plays Hugo and he was cracking me up during our interview. He’s also no stranger to the voice over world having been just voiced a character for the raunchy film Sausage Party among other shows. He also shares some info about his new show with Disney called Puppy Dog Pals which is due out next year. And he has a very funny podcast called The Harland Highway which is available on iTunes.
Skylanders Academy is a wonderful family show that will expand your child’s imagination and teach them about teamwork and friendship. Take a look at this preview and see for yourself.
Skylanders Academy will be available on Netflix on October 28th.
If you’d like to hear my interviews with Ashley, Harland and Eric you can listen at the player on the top of this article, or on iTunes. And don’t forget to subscribe to Motherhood in Hollywood and leave a review!