Oh, Dear. My Childhood.

Lately, one of my American flatmates and I have been bonding over our childhoods. This has mostly centred on Disney and Pokémon, but it turns out we have another thing in common.

We both watched Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders.

If you don’t know it, I’m not surprised. Honestly, it was a shock to discover that someone else had even heard of it, let alone watched it. It ran from 1995-1996, and embodied all that is wonderful and awful about early ‘90s kids’ shows. Think Power Rangers with unicorns.

Plot summary: in “New Camelot,” in the kingdom of Avalon (groan), three teenage girls are Jewel Riders. Instead of riding jewels, they use their special, shiny stones to ride on/talk to a particular animal. This animal is their “Special Friend” (snerk). I’m not entirely sure what Jewel Riders are normally supposed to do (a mounted police force?), but in this series, the Evil Person has locked Merlin in the Wild Magic. The girls must find all seven Crown Jewels to free him (insert jokes about Family Jewels here, here, and here) and stop the magic of Avalon from breaking down.

The scary thing is that there’s a nugget in there that could be promising. If the world is built on magic, how would people cope when magic disintegrates, and the structure of the universe itself crumbles?

Apparently, I just like destroying worlds.

But alas, the idea dies in its execution. Dialogue dripping with cheese, inconsistent rules, hilarious mistakes in animation, and an utter lack of internal logic or character motivation pushes it into realms of camp I’ve rarely seen.

Quick! A Jewel Circle! A Jewel Circle of Friendship!

And yet… I loved it as a kid. The show ended when I was five, yet fifteen years on, I could still hum the theme song. Clearly, it left quite an impression on my young, malleable mind. So much so, that I recall making up and acting out a story in which Simba from The Lion King (another favourite) helps the Jewel Riders.

I was creating Princess Gwenevere crossover fanfic before I knew what crossover fanfic was.

Oh, dear.

With the benefit of all my age and wisdom, I wonder what appealed to me so much. I never really had much time for princesses. The talking animals might have done it, or the classic quest to Find the Magical Artifacts. Or maybe it was the fact that Merlin was missing and the magic was dying. At five, I couldn’t have articulated it that way, but those are the aspects of the show that I remember most.

I suppose it’s really no surprise that Hapax is an apocalyptic fantasy….

Posted on May 25, 2012, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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