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Dragon Tales is an animated Sesame Workshop show on PBS. Its original run lasted from 1999 to 2005.
Max and Emmy find a magical dragon scale upon moving into their new home. By reciting the rhyme, "I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with dragons, in a land apart," the magic sends them to Dragonland. Once there, they meet and play with their new magical dragon friends: Cassie, Ord, Zak and Wheezie (the latter two are a two-headed dragon). They are also often accompanied by the Cool Old Guy dragon Quetzal, and in later seasons, they are joined by their friend Enrique.
The show has a considerable Periphery Demographic, as it resembles an 1980s cartoon that was trapped in a time warp. Well, it's colorful, fantasy themed, and is enjoyably trippy at times. Sound familiar? (Note that Sugar Apocalypses are not part of the package on this show - although, amusingly, this show shares some talent with the latest incarnation of that show.)
Not to be confused with Dragon Tails.
Tropes exhibited by the show:
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The dragons comes in all colors of the rainbow.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Princess Kadoodle.
- Be Yourself
- Big Eater: Ord.
- Bilingual Bonus: Because everything is better bilingual
- Breath Weapon: Subverted. Fire breath is rarely used as a weapon and more like a tool in the series.
- But Your Wings Are Beautiful: Literally invoked in one episode, where the gang meets Priscilla, a dragon who is embarrassed by her abnormally large wings.
- By the Power of Greyskull: The kids use a rhyme to get to Dragonland and back, so yes, this counts.
- Catch Phrase: "Definitely!", "LOoOoOoOve it!", among others. The latter is often the tipping point for older viewers.
- Butt Monkey: Zak. It's very subtle, but watch the series carefully and you'll catch all sorts of little abuses happening to him.
- Character Development
- Dragon Rider:
- Emmy and Max get to ride on the dragons at least Once an Episode.
- Zak and Wheezie usually don't have anybody to ride them, at least until Enrique comes around. Played for laughs when he is introduced — he thinks that he's about to ride Zak and Wheezie like a horse, not realizing they're about to get airborne.
- Establishing Shot: Almost every episode begins with a street view of Max and Emmy's house. It appears to be in the southern United States, with a Mexican architectural design and palm trees. This outside view and the interior of the kids' playroom is all we ever see of the human world.
- Fear of Thunder: Poor Ord...
- Feud Episode: Max and Ord begin fighting with each other about which color to use for the castles they were making whilst pretending to be kings. Eventually, they lament about how they're going to stop fighting. In the end, they solve the problem by combining their preferred colors to make one big castle.
- There was another episode where Emmy actually wished herself back home for a while after getting into an argument.
- Forgotten Birthday: The episode about Ord's birthday.
- Jaw Drop when his friends surprise him.
- Four-Fingered Hands on the dragons, five fingers for the humans.
- Free-Range Children: Subverted, averted, and played straight, with even frequency.
- Gentle Giant: Mungus, fortunately for the True Companions.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Priscilla, the manager at the lost-and-found, who during her first appearance, was feeling embarrassed because her wings (often called "feathers") were bigger than other dragons'. She eventually realized that boy dragons like girl dragons with big wings and raises her self-esteem.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Quetzal and Enrique. And sometimes, the original kids too.
- At one point they decided to sing "Are You Sleeping?" in Spanish, despite it being a French song.
- Growling Gut: Happens to some characters like Zak, Wheezie or Cassie, but mostly Ord as he is gifted with a stomach bigger than himself!
- Grumpy Bear: Zak, to a certain extent.
- Harmless Villain: Cyrus the Slinky Serpent, included to function as a "bad guy". The worst things he does are done almost exclusively to find food. For example, he takes Emmy's detective kit to find Dragongull eggs to eat, which is seen by the cast as more of an immoral act than the actual theft itself.
- Not only that, he gives up very easily, mostly stalking off in a huff.
- Holding Hands Max and Emmy do this to go home together
- Clueless Aesop: Occasionally. See Inspirationally Disadvantaged immediately below. There was also a very odd episode where Weezy must learn patience and to wait her turn for a roller coaster. Thing is, one of the reasons humans enjoy and built roller coasters is because they are lacking in the wings department.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Lorca. We get what they were trying to do with him, but it's still a little jarring to see a dragon in a wheelchair.
- Inevitable Waterfall: Subverted hard, actually, Ord is upset when the group's boat has to be refitted for him. He gets a chance to shine when the waterfall comes, blocking the water long enough for the others to fly away.
- Licensed Games: Two for the Game Boy Color, one for the Game Boy Advance, one for the Play Station...
- Edutainment Games: ... and three edutainment titles for PC/Macs.
- Limited Wardrobe: Like Arthur, this show makes a direct connection between wardrobe and setting. The kids each have helmets, pajamas, winter clothes, and swimsuits.
- Make a Wish
- Multiple Head Case: But they're two entirely different individuals.
- Mundane Utility: Fire breath is used as a substitute oven or microwave.
- Narnia Time: Can get confusing at times. It may be sunny outside when they leave for Dragon Land, and then when they get back, it'll be pouring rain. Also, it seems possible that the reason their parents don't notice they're missing is that the magic of Dragon Land / the dragon scale has a sort of Invisible to Normals effect, so that any time anyone starts to wonder where they are, they find themselves thinking about something else instead.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
Ord: Can we eat later? *friends gasp* What. What?
- Other World Of Adventure: Dragonland itself, of course.
- Our Dragons Are Different: One with the stomach of a bottomless pit, a little shy one from a extremely reproductive family, a two headed one, one in a wheelchair, a few Hispanic ones, one that is essentially an organic roller coaster... enough variety for you?
- Pajama-Clad Hero: One episode starts at dawn, and another starts at sunset.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Cassie and Ord, respectively. Zak and Wheezie sort of count too as a green boy/purple girl.
- Primal Fear: Ord and his fear of darkness
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted in the show, for obvious reasons. However, there's a child psychologist who warns parents against letting young children watch Dragon Tales because "they may get the idea that reptiles are okay to play with". Never mind that the series is set in a Magical Land and the dragons don't even look particularly reptilian.
- Played straight with Cyrus, arguably the most reptilian character in the series, who is portrayed as a thief and a liar.
- Riddle Me This: One of the trolls.
- Running Gag:
- Max and Emmy return home, and Max promptly falls asleep.
- Max and Emmy come home full, and immediately are told to come into the kitchen and eat.
- Screwed by the Network - Screwed by RTM 1 in Malaysia.
- Sesame Workshop: Produced this show.
- Shorter Means Smarter: Cassie is the Smart Girl, and she becomes even smaller when frightened.
- Sibling Seniority Squabble:
Wheezie: I'm older! My head hatched out of the egg first!
- Slumber Party: Max and Emmy need to get home, and Cassie is nervous about her first one. They agree to leave together at bedtime.
- Start My Own: Boy, oh boy. Fun house, puppet show, treehouse...
- Sugar Bowl: Dragon Land fits this trope perfectly.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Personified by characters such as the Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." Used frequently in other instances as well.
- The Clan : Cassie. She has a bigger family than me and you, her brothers and sisters total 72.
- Three Shorts: Dragon Tunes is the B in an ABA format.
- Title Theme Tune: "Dragon Tales, Dragon Tales! / Now it's time for Dragon Tales...!"
- Theme Tune Roll Call: For the first two seasons. Max and Emmy are mentioned first, then each of the main dragon Characters (Ord, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie)
- Title Drop: At the end of the last episode: A Storybook Ending.
- Token Minority: Lorca, the dragon in the wheelchair.
- Uncanceled: Sort of. There was a four year gap between the second and third seasons. Many people thought the show was gone for good, until Sesame Workshop announced the third season as a sort of Retool, featuring Enrique and an emphasis on Hispanic culture and folk songs.
- The Voice: Max and Emmy's parents always call to them from elsewhere in the house (downstairs?) but we never see them, or the rest of the house besides the playroom. (This includes their bedrooms.) Their mom is heard more often.
- Water Is Dry: Whenever Max or Emmy fall in water.
- Winged Unicorn: Eunice in A Tall Tale. She even has a golden horn. And oh, was voiced by G3 Pinkie Pie
- Written in Absence: Emmy, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie are each absent for at least one episode.