This series, like any extended toy commercial that wants to accomplish its goals, has enough plot and humor to hook young viewers ... and, ultimately, their parents' pocketbooks. LEGO Ninjago: The Series mainly focuses on the red "fire" ninja Kai and his hero's journey from hot-headed teen to focused team member. Older viewers will be familiar with this well-worn story; the common archetypes of the funny sidekicks, the damsel in distress, the evil empire, and the wise old master are all there, too. If you've seen Star Wars or anything remotely similar, the plot to LEGO Ninjago will feel like old news.
But the fantastic all-LEGO design of the series, along with some genuinely witty moments, provides much-needed excitement and levity. All the characters are LEGO toys come to life and, as such, are fun to watch. The animation is smooth and colorful, and the exciting martial arts sequences make the most of the blocky little characters and their "clip" hands. The plot moves along at a decent pace; if anything, it's sometimes a bit too fast. And characters learn lessons of teamwork and patience thanks to the wise and respectable Sensei Wu. Better still, it's full of silly, winking humor, thereby making the peril seem less intense. Even for a series-long toy commercial, it doesn't pander and seems to have been made for the amusement of parents as well as kids.