For a show aimed at the peewee crowd, The Legends of Chima sure boasts some mighty big themes! The latest animated series from LEGO, premiering Wednesday (8/7c, Cartoon Network), is set in a fantastical Middle Earth-type world, known as the Chima Kingdom. Eleven animal tribes have split into two factions and they are battling for the possession of Chi, the ultimate, megapowerful source of life.
The characters themselves — lions, eagles, gorillas, crocodiles — may look LEGO-simplistic, but their rivalries are powerful, complicated and very often violent. As if the constant political unrest isn't enough to shake up this once-idyllic land, there's also a devastating earthquake.
"This is an extremely ambitious project that's intended to set a high bar for what's possible in children's programming," says executive producer Ole Holm Christensen. "Kids today are very sophisticated when it comes to animation production values, thanks in large part to the Pixar movies. We conducted some very extensive research and found that kids are ready for something even more challenging."
LEGO is going big with Chima-related books, toys, an internet game (Laval Unleashed on cartoonnetwork.com) and three major theme-park attractions opening this summer at Legoland in Orlando. In fact, the sky — like the power of Chi — is without limit. "We're confident that Chima has a potential worldwide audience that's massive," says LEGO senior creative manager Tommy Andreasen. "Like the great, timeless fairytales, this story has multiple levels of appreciation. It's really for the kids, but there's so much there for adults."