|The Life and Times of Juniper Lee|
NOTE: This article is taken from OwenOgletree's page on DeviantArt. Please check more of his stuff out.
Welcome to "Forgotten Cartoons" everyone. Today, we are taking a look at a series that ForeverEvanescent, one of my watchers, suggested I do a review on: "The Life and Times of Juniper Lee".
"The Life and Times of Juniper Lee" was created by Judd Winick and ran on Cartoon Network from May 2005 until April 2007. The show went on for three seasons with a total of forty 22-minute episodes. The series centers on the life of a preteen girl named Juniper Lee, who lives in Orchid Bay City. The city is a hub for magical activity and is filled with various monsters and demons, both good and evil. The magic and human worlds have been separated by a magical barrier, known as "The Veil," which prevents ordinary humans from seeing any magic-related events or the creatures related to them. Juniper has recently been made the new Te Xuan Ze, the protector and the keeper of the balance between the human and magic worlds. To accomplish her task, she has been magically enhanced, making her far stronger and faster than ordinary humans. She can also use various kinds of magic to assist her. Maintaining the balance often interferes with her personal life, including her schoolwork and her social life, but she always manages to keep everything flowing.
Revisiting this show, I watched 20 episodes of it in preparation for this review. I watched the entire first season, randomly picked four episodes from Season 2, and randomly picked three episodes from Season 3. What are my thoughts on the show? I think it's good. In fact, I would even say it's really good.
It feels like a mix of slice-of-life, action/adventure, and supernatural stories, and it balances those genres pretty well. The show is filled with interesting mythology regarding the centuries-long history of the Te Xuan Ze, the various monsters and demons, and the magical spells. It also has clever and unique portrayals of well-known fictional figures such as Loki and The Sandman.
The show has a pretty strong cast of characters. Juniper Lee is quite a likable main protagonist. She is smart, resourceful, and can kick some serious butt. She is also quite relatable and sympathetic. Whenever things went wrong for her regarding her calling as the Te Xuan Ze getting in the way of her social life and her other endeavors, I genuinely felt bad for her and wanted her to get things to work out.
Her little brother Ray Ray is hyperactive and dim-witted and totally acts how a lot of eight-year-olds do. While he and June have a lot of banter and arguments going between them, you still get the sense that they do care about each other as siblings should. Their dog Monroe is really enjoyable to watch as well. His Scottish accent, condescending attitude, and sarcastic comments often brought a laugh out of me. June and Ray Ray's grandmother Jasmine Lee is also pretty cool.
As for the supporting characters, they aren't too bad either. June's older brother Dennis and her friends Jody, Ophelia, and Roger do seem rather one-dimensional at first, but as the series progresses, you get to like them more. There is also some relationship drama sometimes with June's crush, Marcus.
As for the action/adventure aspect, the show succeeds in that area as well. The action scenes are a lot of fun and can even be kind of suspenseful at times. My favorite fight scene from the series is probably the battle against Kai Yee in the Season 3 episode, "Out of the Past".
Do I have any criticisms? Well, the humor can be a bit awkward at times, mainly the scenes where June tries to come up with explanations to her friends on why she couldn't meet them somewhere, and a lot of the monsters they fight in some episodes aren't particularly memorable. I also feel that June literally not being able to physically leave Orchid Bay at any time goes way too far.
All in all, I really like this show. It utilizes the supernatural genre well while managing to not take itself too seriously, and is quite a lot of fun to watch. This is definitely the best show I have reviewed on "Forgotten Cartoons" so far, and I would also say it's somewhere in my top 20 favorite Cartoon Network shows, possibly even top 15. This show is an underrated gem and deserves another look.
That's a wrap for this episode of "Forgotten Cartoons". To my couple of watchers and anyone else reading this, do you have any requests for what forgotten cartoons you want me to do a review on? Leave it in the comments!