Monday, January 6, 2014

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Life & Times of Juniper Lee (2005)

What hath Harry Potter wrought?

J. K. Rowling's best-selling series of fantasy novels, which in turn led to a similarly successful movie series, also led to the development of some fantasy-oriented cartoons in the mid-00's.

Cartoon Network's The Life & Times of Juniper Lee clearly was a by-product of Pottermania, at least in this writer's opinion. Juniper (Lara Jill Miller, ex-Gimme a Break) is on the surface a normal 11 year old girl. However, she's also a mystic guardian, defending Earth from all sorts of menaces.

Juniper Lee was CN's attempt at mining the girl-centric action hero market that Disney had cornered with Kim Possible, but at the same time, Disney had come out with American Dragon Jake Long, another fantasy cartoon with a theme similar to Juniper Lee, save for the romance issues that plagued Long. Given CN's present attitude toward action cartoons, it is no wonder that Juniper Lee now languishes in the vaults rather than air on Boomerang as some contemporary series from the same period do.

Let's take a look at the open.



Lara Jill Miller had followed the lead of fellow 80's star Mindy Cohn (ex-The Facts of Life), who'd also made a comeback in cartoons. However, Ms. Miller hasn't been heard from again since Juniper Lee disappeared. Hmmmm.

Rating: B-.

10 comments:

magicdog said...

Believe it or not, it was Buffy The Vampire Slayer I was thinking of, not Harry Potter!

This show wasn't bad, and an interesting premise (even if it's a bit close to BTVS' premise). More interesting when you see Juniper is literally stuck in her hometown due to her status as Te Xuan Ze. I felt bad for her when she couldn't go on a class trip to Europe because of it!

Juniper also liked to play rough! She was always threatening demons and ready to hit first and ask questions never! Her grandmother, the previous Te Xuan Ze had chided her for that on at least one occasion since she was supposed to be a link between worlds.

hobbyfan said...

Thanks for pointing out Juniper's Achilles' heel---her immaturity. That puts her several flights below both Buffy & Kim Possible. Remember, she's only 11. Kim was, at least, 14 or 15 when her series started.

BTW, IIRC, Buffy's series had ended by the time Juniper Lee debuted, hence the correlation to Harry Potter.

Steven Dolce said...

It's a bummer that CN never made an episode of this show where Juniper Lee becomes a sumo.

hobbyfan said...

And how would that have been done?

Steven Dolce said...

I dunno. Magic potion?

hobbyfan said...

I cannot picture Juniper as a sumo except for wearing a fat suit.

Steven Dolce said...

Why?

hobbyfan said...

Have you ever heard of a female sumo who didn't need a padded suit?

Steven Dolce said...

CN should release this show on home video ASAP.

hobbyfan said...

Actually, that's up to WB, not Chumptoon Network.