Niko and the Sword of Light

Ages: 6 - 10Producer: Amazon Studios

This animated Amazon Original series grew out of an iPad motion comic app of the same name. It features 10-year-old Niko, the last of his kind living in a strange world plagued by shadows that turn innocent creatures into monsters. Niko teams up with Princess Lyra on a quest to drive out the shadows and restore light to his land. Armed with wit, ingenuity, and a magic sword, Niko encounters new creatures and battles fearsome enemies in the far-flung regions he visits.

An episode titled “From the Sea of Suffering to the Faraway Shore” follows Niko as he meets the Shrimp King and tries to help the Shrimpfolk as they prepare in a battle with a terrible enemy who is holding the Dolphin Queen captive. In “From the Cliffs of Catastrophe to the Pools of Destiny,” Niko gets sidetracked when he meets another human and he finds himself separated from Princess Lyra. And in “From the Cursed Volcano to the End of Hope,” the tension in Season 1’s story arch comes to a head as Niko engages in a final showdown with his biggest enemy, Nar Est.

For all the melodrama suggested in the episode titles, this series, aimed at viewers ages 6 – 11, has its moments of lightness. Niko is an unlikely champion, impulsive, and always ready for a snack break. In some ways the series is his coming-of-age story as he embraces his awesome responsibilities. Niko and the Sword of Light strikes an appropriate balance between heavy and light-hearted moments. While focused on tales of adventure, viewers take away lessons about facing down fears and not giving up, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Yes, the shadowy monsters and Niko’s clashes with his enemies may be too intense for some young viewers. The good news is that Niko’s sword shoots beams of light and the vanquished monsters don’t die. Instead, the shadows dissipate and the plagued creatures return to their innocent forms. Much like nightmares in the light of day.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.