I’m a little obsessed with trying to find new and good family entertainment on Netflix. Normally, I can find all sorts of annoying kids’ shows and movies (annoying to me, not to them) or really good programming that is TV-MA. And on Netflix? They really mean MA when they say it.
I had high hopes when Netflix sent me a screener to watch the first two episodes of Trollhunters before it premiered last December. My hopes were high because it was a Dreamworks animated series and it came from “the limitless imagination of master storyteller Guillermo Del Toro.”
I actually enjoyed Trollhunters. I liked the characters. I liked the premise. I just had to get my son on board.
As a 10 year old boy, I figured this would be totally up his alley since parts of it were reminiscent of that other Netflix original series from Dreamworks, Dragons: Race to the Edge.
But there was a problem. The problem was that he felt very meh about it. Watched an episode, still felt meh. I suggested he watch more since I liked it and he was still meh.
Then one day, maybe out of sheer boredom, he turned it on and started getting into it. I sat down. My husband sat down. And pretty soon we were all mostly watching it together.
Actually, now that I think about it, I attribute it’s popularity in my household to the neverending viruses that seemed to plague us during the months of January and February. We needed a LOT of entertainment around here.
Trying to keep up with Trollhunters
I’ll admit it though. I often have my computer in front of me or my phone in my hand while we’re watching and I ended up doing a lot of this.
Who’s that guy again?
Wait, is he a changeling?
Where are they right now and how did they get there?
Which one’s Toby?
To be fair, it is a 26 episode series that’s grouped together in what’s called Part 1. And yes, there’s a Part 2 on the way. There’s a second season of 13 episodes already in production.
So if you find yourself in the same parenting situation as I often do, here’s your cheat sheet for who’s who in Trollhunters.
WARNING: There are some plot spoilers below so this is more to help you either after you’ve watched the show or as you’re simply trying to keep up.
Trollhunters Character List
Jim Lake, Jr.
The protagonist in the story. He’s a high schooler who lives with his single mom and spends more time taking care of her than she does taking care of him. He’s the one that finds “the amulet” and becomes the first human Trollhunter.
Jim’s mom. She’s a doctor and always has late shifts at the hospital and is often conveniently gone when Jim is battling trolls and causing general mayhem.
Jim’s best friend. He’s the yin to Jim’s yang. While Jim is tall, good-looking, brace, and generally a nice guy, Toby is the pudgy sidekick with braces who’s always there to support Jim.
Jim’s nemesis at school. Looking for the typical athlete who’s good-looking but mean, especially to the littlest dweebs? That’s Steve.
A littlest dweeb. Eli shows up in school-related episodes as the primary target of Steve’s jerkiness.
The big dumb gym teacher. Coach Lawrence is the biggest supporter of Steve. Fun fact: he’s voiced by Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from the Back to the Future movies)
Jim’s love interest? It’s wrong to reduce her role to that but there is a blossoming romance (they are in high school, after all) but Claire eventually becomes part of the Trollhunters team for reasons you’ll find out below.
Claire’s younger brother. Enrique is just a baby and can’t talk but we soon realize Enrique is NOT Enrique.
A changeling who has replaced the real Enrique. He can take the form of a human resembling Toby (thus fooling everyone around him) or his true form of a troll.
Jim’s teacher at school. Is he good? Is he bad? Yes. He’s a changeling that goes from teacher to principal to Jim’s mother’s love interest. Ooh, the plot thickens.
A good troll. Blinky, named for his many many eyes, is the primary troll Jim deals with. Voiced by Kelsey Grammer, he has an air of authority and is the primary advocate, supported, and teacher for Jim as the first human trollhunter.
(Yes, that really is his name.) Blinky’s sidekick. He’s the muscle to Blinky’s smarts but he’s got a heart of gold. He also befriends Toby and becomes his “wingman.”
An old troll that appears to be a leader of the Troll Market. The Troll Market is the underground hangout for all the good trolls (since they can’t be exposed to daylight).
A good-ish troll. Draal felt it was his birthright to become the next Trollhunter since his father died in that role. But Jim beat him fair and square. It’s all good, though, because then they became friends.
The main antagonist in the story. Basically, a really bad troll. Bular, who is the son of Gunmar, has made it his job to find and kill the Trollhunter in an effort to free his father from the Darklands.
Bular’s father. We haven’t really seen him yet but since he’s in the Darklands (also where Claire’s baby brother Enrique really is), we expect to see a lot more of him in Season 2 as Jim heads there.
An ancient troll assassin. He’s basically another bad guy brought to life by Strickler in an effort to defeat Jim. It doesn’t really go well for anyone, especially Angor Rot himself.
A gnome who started out bad but turned good. The gnome made his way into the Darklands and was able to confirm that baby Enrique was safely being held there.
There are a few other characters you’ll need to keep track of like Claire’s friends Darci and Mary, a few others teachers, and a bunch of other trolls. But if you stick to the list above, you’ll probably be ahead of your kids.
One final note about Trollhunters
When researching the details of the cast, I hadn’t realized that Jim’s character was voiced by the late Anton Yelchin, who sadly died last year in an accident at his home. Much of the voicework for the series has already been done and Guillermo del Toro plans to use as much of Yechin’s voice as possible to honor the character he created.
This post is part of my role on the Netflix StreamTeam.