The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Season 1 review: Does it measure up?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" Screening at Museum of Moving Image on August 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" Screening at Museum of Moving Image on August 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix) /

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance takes place 1,000 trine (years) before the epic original film’s story. As a prequel series, does this show deserve to carry the Dark Crystal name?

Well, it’s here. The prequel series I’ve been holding my breath for. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has been talked up in all kinds of circles across the globe. This is true to such a degree that the ending credits (and the show) are translated into more languages than I hung out to count.

As a huge fan of the unforgettable, untouchable, this-is-my-childhood original film, I was a skeptic in the beginning. But immediately upon seeing the first trailer, I was sold. From that point, I was counting the days until I could watch and review this series. Today is that day.

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Before I go on, you should know two things: First, while I will dance around as much as possible, there may be some spoilery indicators contained in this review. But expect no more than what you might see in a trailer.

Second, I would be super disappointed to look forward to this film and then see the warning after I sat down with popcorn. So I think it’s worth the mention that Netflix offers up a warning to photosensitive viewers that there are some strobe action scenes that may be a problem for you. Sorry, pals.

So let’s talk about this thing. Was it worth the watch? Did it live up to the Jim Henson brainchild of my youth?

The answer is a resounding YES. Not only did the show avoid upsetting me with modern upgrades of the characters, or a simple remake of the first one, it went above and beyond what I hoped for.

From the visuals to the storyline to the execution; I will dare to say Age of Resistance is actually better than the original Dark Crystal movie. Hey, don’t give me your attitude until you’ve watched it for yourself, OK?

And if you have, you know what I mean. But for you naysayers, here is my argument:

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. [PHOTO] Netflix, August 2019
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. [PHOTO] Netflix, August 2019 /

1. The creatures

Because we got the actual Jim Henson’s Creature Shop family behind the scenes, here, the creatures are not only similar to the originals, they are literally those guys. It’s also the reason why some of the new characters may look a bit familiar to you.

Jim Henson had his hand in a lot of places that you may not realize. It’s sort of a “once you see it…” situation. Labyrinth stuff showed up in Age of Resistance more than once, but it would take a trained eye to see it.

I noticed feathers like the fireys and the way the spitters come together to talk whizzed me back to the helping hands above the oubliette. And you’ve also seen some of the Creature Shop work on Mother Monster, herself, Lady Gaga.

In a nutshell, with some robotic facial animation alone, these creatures are pure puppetry and costume work. There are tons of people under and behind and above these things making them move in the most intensely realistic ways. Bringing us to the next point.

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2. Puppetry

I knew it was going to be a big deal because there was plenty of talk about how they were working hard to keep with original puppetry over computers. The authenticity that comes with that incredibly detailed and laborious effort of love more than pays off. This is what gives us the extremely original feel of the Dark Crystal film.

Just for research (I swear), I rewatched the Dark Crystal movie before taking in this new production. As they have expanded the story and the world of Thra for the series, I had some concern about how the new characters would measure up. But let me tell you, they are 100% in line with the original ones.

Since the designers of the characters and costumes are the same people who did the originals, it was no problem to make the new players look born of the same hands. In fact, I noticed some improvement to detail work that didn’t stand out as much in the Dark Crystal movie.

And being that this was a look at the creatures 1,000 trine ago, everything was a little crisper, a little shinier, but still the same. We got very good close-ups of feet on the ground that looked genuinely heavy, no glimpses of poles or wires, and amazing pattern work on clothing and adornments.


3. Action

So I had no idea how much action was going to be involved in Age of Resistance. One trailer gave a glimpse of an eventful splash into water, but there was so much more. I joked in another post that the puppets do parkour and that was no lie.

We got zoomed-in detail of these puppets guzzling drinks from bowls, having tears and drool on their faces, sword fighting, and even flying. They were pouring stuff into beakers, making dirt angels, and so many other things that I couldn’t even begin to try at home.

4. Voices

I mentioned that there was a heavy Game of Thrones vibe for me during my recap of Episode 1, and that did not fade. It helped that there are several Game of Thrones cast members involved in Age of Resistance, but truly, even the plot carried what even felt like hat tips to the show.

Part of the story involved a white-haired princess and her heir to the throne lifestyle, there was a scene where one Gelfling said to another she had never ridden a land strider before (think dragons), and the list goes on.

But had I closed my eyes and simply listened, the voices just carry the story so well. The passion in the actors’ performances, little squeaks and the classic “mmmmm?” of Chamberlain (Skeksis) were all there. And like I said, it seriously sounded like GoT, and really scratched that itch I’ve felt since it all went down for that world.

In fact, all things said and done, the biggest laugh out of my belly during this series came from the way one Skeksis delivered the line, “My carriage!” with this squeaky sincerity. I mean, I seriously felt his bummer. Bravo! And from watching the extremely impressive credits, I also know that many actors took on more than one character. The intensity never ends.

5. Answers and questions

The best thing about The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is that it literally answered all of my questions. With the knowledge that there were 10 episodes, I kept wondering, “how are they going to wrap this up so quickly?” Well, the answer is simple. They didn’t.

That’s right, there is most definitely room for another season of this epic adventure. And it looks like that’s a seriously probably scenario. You’ll see if you haven’t already that the way it ends does give us everything we wanted, but leaves a genuine gap in the history between then and the film’s timing.


We learned the actual names of the Skeksis, how many of them originally showed up, and the names of the seven Gelfling clans. We got a very deep understanding of Aughra and of the Podlings (their dirt-loving party animals!), and other creatures that we didn’t have names for.

I loved how there were lines so similar to other shows that I recognize woven into the dialogue. I loved that there were political undertones that represent real-world current affairs. I loved that there are details like pink Gelfling blood and quotes that will live on and on. “We do not get to decide when our part in the song is finished,” said the Archer at one point. So good.

Little lessons that are much bigger than the moment they took to deliver were golden. It was really like the entire show was packed with important things to know for life. Entertaining us with the most spectacular puppet show ever – even a puppet show done by the puppets in the show – all quietly schooling us about how we don’t have to just blindly believe, nor segregate ourselves amongst ourselves.

It all comes together beautifully and answers questions we didn’t even know we had, like, how did the Garthim come to be? How did the Skeksis get control of the crystal? Does nothing stay dead anymore (hat tip to Supernatural, IMO).

I hope you will watch and love this incredible blend of old and new in the 10-episode series on Netflix. It’s streaming now and you can watch it all in the time it takes to do a full-time job for a day. You can do it, I believe in you!

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Did you watch The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance yet? What is the best thing you took from the series? Tell us in the comments below!

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is now streaming on Netflix.