When it came to finding a critic for his new series, Mysticons, creator Sean Jara didn’t have to go far. He turned to his young daughter.
“She is definitely a fan,” he says with a laugh. “We started watching the animated storyboards and she’s seen every iteration of them … she’s getting a crash course in animation school.” Jara, whose resumÃ© includes writing for Degrassi: The Next Generation, Falcon Beach, Naturally, Sadie and Johnny Test has made a splash with the high-profile animated fantasy program Mysticons, about a quartet of fierce girls who become legendary heroes and battle a dangerous foe.
Airing Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on YTV, Mysticons comes from Corus Entertainment’s legendary NelvanaÂ and promotes strong, confident, smart and funny girls. The 40-episode series boasts the voices of Alyson Court as Arkayna Goodfey, Drake Cityâ€™s princess who just wants to be a regular teen; Nicki Burke as Zarya Moonwolf, a street-smart gal with charm (and a pet foz named Choko); Evany Rosen as Emerald Goldenbraid, an engineer and Arkaynaâ€™s best friend; and Ana Sani as Piper Willowbrook, an optimistic street kid who is best buds with Zarya.
And while Mysticons is aimed at young girls, the project didn’t originally start out that way. At its inception, the project was boy-centric to focus on a male audience.
“I was hired because I’m one of the go-to people when it comes to boy’s action, but after a few years of development Nelvana saw an opportunity to develop a more girl-centric show,” Jara explains. “We talked about it, made the decision and went full-steam ahead with this new point of view.” Jara says his original ideaâ€”based on the game Dungeons & Dragonsâ€”was scrapped and he thought, “What would my daughter watch?” The result is something that became much more special and awesome.
“It was about giving girls a really good adventure show,” he says. “And then we focused on the friendship between the heroes. You don’t often have that in a hero group; you usually have four or five guys and one girl.” Jara also overhauled his writing room once the gender shift happened, hiring on scribes like Shelley Scarrow, Amanda Spagnolo, Sandra Kasturi and Elise Morgan to get key insight into female friendships and break thrilling stories.
There is a lot jammed into Mysticons‘ first episode. We quickly establish the futuristic world of Drake CityÂ and are introduced to our quartet of future warriors. Turns out there was once a group of Mysticons who fought evil but they’re no longer around. That’s when evil descends on Drake City in the form of Baron Dreadbane (voiced by Mac Heywood) and an army of skeletons bent on taking over. Arkayna, Zarya, Em and Piperâ€”after getting their hands on the fabled Dragon Diskâ€”are transformed into a new team of Mysticons who defend their fair city and its citizens.
“It’s a fast-moving pilot and I’m really proud of it,” Jara says. “There is an A and a B story running simultaneously … I’m really happy with the way it came out.”
Mysticons airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on YTV.
Images courtesy of Corus.