‘Daniel Spellbound’ Season 2 Review: Daniel and Hoagie Go in Search of Family and Dread Magic

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Last year, Netflix announced that they were shutting down their animation division. Which was a real shame because some of their best offerings were in the realm of animation. Shows like BoJack Horseman, and Trollhunters, showed that the streaming service had what it takes to perform at a high level in the realm of animation. It is nice to see that some projects have still not been abandoned. One of those projects is Daniel Spellbound, a magical adventure that arrives on Netflix this week for its second season.

Daniel Spellbound is created by Matthew Fernandes and Alan Gregg. The series stars the voice talent of actors such as Alex Barima, Chantel Riley, Deven Christian Mack, and Dwayne Hill. The show tells the adventures of the titular character, Daniel Spellbound, a tracker, which in the universe of the show means he is capable of finding lost items and such in ways no one else can. In this second season, Daniel Spellbound will embark on an adventure that will take him to the far and dark places where ancient magic takes hold.

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After saving the world last season, Daniel Spellbound and his faithful companion, the talking pig Hoagie, come back for more adventures. This time, the plot takes them in the direction of helping another lost person find the family she needs. It is a very magical and exciting story, and the plot offers enough twists and turns to make things feel relevant and juicy. Especially adults, who might think this could be a bit too boring for them, will find that the show is just excellent in combining solid character development with solid action sequences.

In terms of animation, the show follows very closely the staging and the character design from the previous season. All new characters have this very casual and urban style to them. It is quite easy to root for the character when they behave just like a normal teenager, but also look the part. We are not dealing with Pixar animation levels here. So, some animations might look stiff at times, and the settings definitely lack attention to detail. The settings mostly feel like cutouts, and it is hard to make sense of the world with backgrounds that lack specific details.

The characters could also have a bit more detail put into them. Their look is fine, but sometimes the textures are just flat, and you can absolutely feel that the show just doesn’t have the resources to compete with more impressive TV series out there. However, the efforts do the job, and by the end of the season, you will surely feel like you know these characters very well. When it comes to the enemies, we could have a bit more variety; they absolutely feel a bit more generic than anything else. Especially taking into account that these are magical creatures and not just normal teenagers.

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The story moves into very familiar territory at times, and some plot twists are telegraphed way in advance. This is fine because we need to remember that the main target of the show is little kids that still might not have enough experience consuming this type of story. So, for them, the developments might actually be quite surprising. They are still well executed, and there are no plot threads that linger so much that they overstay their welcome. Thankfully, the characters are fun enough that parents might watch with their kids and still have a great time.

This season, like the one before it, ends on a big cliffhanger. There is surely at least one more season coming. Not only because of the cliffhanger that we see at the end of this season, but also because some of the most important elements and enemies from the first one are still lingering out there. As a result of this, the second season feels more like a detour between more significant and relevant adventures, than anything else. It is still a fun adventure, and there are some cool in-world developments, but you can feel that the real story will continue and probably finish in season 3.

In the end, Daniel Spellbound season 2 feels like a good watch. It might not have the highs and lows of the first one, but it definitely feels more consistent, as if the show’s writers are more comfortable with the story they want to tell and how they will tell it. If this improvement in quality can keep going until season 3 arrives, then that one will certainly be the best season of them all. So far, Daniel Spellbound is not as good as Trollhunters was, but it does feel like a solid substitute in the real of magic animated shows on Netflix.

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson Acosta

    Nelson Acosta is a professional writer and translator based in Caracas, Venezuela. He is also a member of the Caracas Circle of Cinematographic Critics, a film critic association in Venezuela that aims to preserve and educate audiences on worldwide and Venezuelan cinema. He studi...