The Defender of the universe is back, and better than you remember.

’80s kids grew up spending Saturday mornings watching Voltron, a classic cartoon that was packed with heroic characters and intense giant robot action. Today, the legacy of these lions continues as Voltron: Legendary Defender blazes a new path with an awesome reboot show and a stellar toy line that kids and nostalgic adults will enjoy.

In the new Netflix series, the story itself is similar to the original Voltron. Five young humans become the legendary Paladins and pilot robotic lions that combine into Voltron to defend the universe from the fearsome Galra Empire, which has already conquered much of the universe. Yet despite being a remake, the show is refreshingly original and the characters are especially captivating.

Shiro, team leader and pilot of the Black Lion, is an escaped Galra Empire captive. With a large gap in his memory, he must try to remember what happened to him and figure out why the Empire gave him a powerful robotic hand. Red Lion pilot Keith is a lone wolf and a fierce warrior who’s endlessly stubborn. Growing up without knowing his mother, he discovers on his adventures with the Paladins that the Galra Empire may hold the secret to his parentage. Lance is the pilot of the Blue Lion and is perpetually cocky. His grandstanding and foolhardy nature often lands the team in sticky situations. Tech-whiz Pidge is always ready to prove herself as the capable pilot of the Green Lion. While she’s dedicated to the Paladins, her main goal is to rescue her father and brother who were captured by the Galra alongside Shiro. Yellow Lion pilot Hunk is tough and loveable and always has his next meal on his mind. The Paladins are guided and trained by the strong and trustworthy Princess Allura and her quirky butler Coran, two of the last surviving members of Altea, the first planet to succumb to the Galra.

The show exemplifies teamwork and acceptance through these detailed characters and some clever and emotional writing. The first two seasons are currently streaming on Netflix—with season three on its way in September—so it’s easy to get sucked into binging these characters’ adventures.

But a Voltron show wouldn’t be complete without some pulse-pounding action, and Legendary Defender definitely delivers. Seeing the lions combine into Voltron will excite younger viewers and make veteran fans feel like kids again as the giant robot takes on enormous threats in edge-of-your-seat CGI battles. When not combined, the individual lions still zip through space and take down hordes of enemy ships in jaw-dropping combat. Even outside of the lions, the Paladins themselves—along with Princess Allura—kick plenty of Galra butt with an arsenal of sweet space weaponry.

Kids will definitely enjoy the show, which combines the team-up action of Power Rangers with the galactic scale of Star Wars. What’s more, adults who grew up with the original cartoon will ride on some seriously nostalgic hype as the Lions maintain their age-old, butt-kicking flare and classic characters make some exciting comebacks.

The storylines and character development are crucial to the show, so watching it in order is best. If binging the intense action and engrossing story has you itching for the next season, Playmates Toys has plenty of Voltron: Legendary Defender merchandise to tide you over.

Those who like to think big can pick up the Ultimate Voltron electronic figure. This detailed toy stands at 14 inches tall and is fully poseable. Press the button on its belt to light up its chest and hear more than 15 different phrases and sound effects. Ready for battle, the Green Lion arm can even shoot a plastic missile from its mouth.

The Voltron action goes even further with the Legendary Lion series. Each of the five Legendary Lions is sold separately, fully articulated, and can combine to form a Voltron that stands taller than the Ultimate Voltron figure at 16 inches tall. The Lions that form the arms and legs come with their own battle accessories and mini-Paladin cockpits, while the Legendary Electronic Black Lion features lights, sounds, and phrases straight from the show.

The toy line also has smaller, budget-friendly lions and Voltron figures. These lions can’t combine or separate, but they do have unique features like plastic missile firepower and claw-swiping motion.

With a show streaming on Netflix that’s out of this world and a whole set of brand new toys, Voltron is back and better than ever.

About the author

Carlos Cadorniga

Carlos Cadorniga

Carlos Cadorniga is an editorial intern at Adventure Publishing Group and a recent journalism graduate from Stony Brook University. He crafts weekly toy reviews for The Toy Insider and contributes to the Toy Book trade magazine. His hobbies include watching cartoons, singing, playing video games, creative writing, and bragging about his trip to Japan. His favorite color is pink and he will not let you forget it, and his favorite sport is seeing how many episodes of The Office he can rewatch on Netflix in one sitting.