Why You Should Be Watching TRON UPRISING

TRON: Uprising has officially started over on Disney XD, and you should be watching this show. For several reasons, the main one being that the animation is very reminiscent of classic animation like Aeon Flux and Cowboy Bebop – angles and long lines and fluid motion, combined with the cyberpunk qualities of “the grid” from the two TRON movies.

It’s eye candy for the computer geek in all of us.

The writing (so far) has been solid. And the voice cast includes veterans of the genre – Elijah Wood, Bruce Boxleitner, Tricia Helfer, Lance Henrikson, Paul Reubens! … plus Mandy Moore, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nathan Corddry and Reginald Veljohnson.

Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) have developed the series to fill in some gaps between Clu’s coup (say that three times fast) and the events we see in TRON: Legacy. And so far, they’ve managed to tell some pretty interesting stories that set up what looks to be a long narrative ending with Tron finally becoming Rinzler for good.

The basic story: in the “town” of Argon City, a program named Beck (Wood) rebels against the forces of the evil Clu 2.0, led by General Tesler (Henrikson) after his friend is de-rezzed for back-talking the occupation forces. Beck’s a mechanic, pretty good with tools, and hacks into his identity disc so he can pretend to be Tron.

Naturally, this brings about all sorts of mayhem and chaos, because Tron is dead. Right?

The pilot episode, of course, is about how Beck decides that the grid needs a Tron, and so he hacks his identity disc to pretend to be the famous security program. This brings trouble to Argon City, mainly in the form of Paige (Chriqui), a sexy enforcer program who competes with Pavel (Reubens) for attention and favor of Tesler.

Beck also gets the attention of Rinzler, who captures the renegade program and reveals that he’s actually Tron. And so Tron becomes Miyagi to Beck’s Daniel-san. Tron offers to train Beck to be the “new Tron”.

And yes, this might involve a little hand-waving with the bit about how long it takes Clu’s virus to transform Tron into Rinzler, but getting past that is pretty easy to do.

Visually, it looks like TRON. It feels like TRON. Everything you’d expect to see is here: the recognizers, the light cycles, the sparklies when a pain stick hits a program. (I’m still waiting for Beck to catch his disc behind his head…) And you get not one, but two sexy female programs in Paige and Mara, along with a potentially nasty bad guy with Tesler. Although he hasn’t had enough to do yet, but Henrikson is the perfect voice for the character. And Tesler has a couple of tricks up his sleeve, too.

So, get on the grid. You’ll be glad you did.

TRON: Uprising airs Thursdays on Disney XD.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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