looking back, one of dino charge’s fundamental problems is that it did not realize that every single story it was trying to tell with white boys had already been told a million times.
womanizer who finally falls in love? done. nerdy farmboy who dreams of bigger things? done. evil villain who gets redeemed? done. prince who learns to be a decent person? done.
these are stories that have been told a million times by a million white men because media is oversaturated with white men and their stories. they are predictable and boring and dino charge did nothing new with any of them. i could have told you heckyl was going to be redeemed five years ago.
but koda’s story, of an immigrant who feels out of place in the new world? ivan’s story, of being forced to come to america against his will, leaving behind his family? tyler’s story, of searching all over the world for his dad? shelby’s story, of being the daughter of a successful black businessman and trying to succeed in a field (archaeology) dominated by white men?
these are not stories that have been done a million times, or, if they are, they have not been portrayed by people of color. if tyler were white, his story would’ve been predictable, but he’s latino, so it’s not. if heckyl were black, he would’ve been treated very differently and might not even have been redeemed because it is harder for a white audience to empathize with a black man who commits morally ambiguous deeds than with a white man who commits the same deeds. shelby’s story has been told by white girls before, but she is black and so it’s new and interesting. koda and ivan each offer a unique perspective on the immigrant experience in america, specifically for east asian and latinx immigrants, that would have resonated greatly with kids who are first or second generation immigrants, had either of those characters been explored and had their stories treated with the same respect that white men get.
but dino charge assumed that the kids watching would prefer to see the same old story of a white boy trying to win over a white girl, and a white boy getting redeemed for his evil deeds, and a white boy wanting to be more than his humble farmboy beginnings, and they didn’t write any of the interesting stories that they had on hand, and they wasted half their cast in doing so. and they were rewarded with the lowest ratings of the neo saban era on a white boy focus episode because of it.