Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders (known outside of North America as Starla and the Jewel Riders) is an animated comic fantasy television series produced by Bohbot Productions and Hasbro in association with Hong Ying Animation. The plot follows the quest of a very beautiful young princess of Avalon, Gwenevere (Starla), and her two pretty friends, Fallon and Tamara, to find and secure the scattered enchanted jewels in order to stop the evil Lady Kale from taking over the kingdom, restore harmony in magic, and bring the banished Merlin home. In the second season, the Jewel Riders receive more powers and new costumes to battle the returning Kale and the mighty Morgana for more magical jewels that too need to be kept out the grasp of dark forces. The series aired two seasons from September 9, 1995 till December 12, 1996.
The show's action is set in the legendary island of Avalon, here portrayed as a fairy tale style kingdom utopia that keeps its magical energies in check by the seven Crown Jewels, each representing a different area of the realm. The series takes place after a thousand years passed since the good wizard Merlin's initial victory over the witch queen Morgana. In the original version of the show, the title character has her name similar with Arthur's wife, Guinevere; other Arthurian characters in the show include Merlin and Lady of the Lake. Mentored by the ageless Merlin, the Jewel Riders are the young female champions of goodness and magical guardians of New Camelot, who uphold the laws of the peaceful land and defend its people for generations. But when an evil witch attacks and with their teacher Merlin suddenly gone, the trio of current of Jewel Riders, the kingdom's traditional adolescent girl defenders aided by their animal friends, get tasked with recover the mystical Enchanted Jewels that are essential for controlling the dangerous wild magic. Avalon's fate rests with the Jewel Riders, the latest incarnation of which consists of the 16-year-old Princess Gwenevere (Gwen) and her friends, Fallon and Tamara. Along the way, the protagonists must contend with Lady Kale, the ruthless sorceress who has vowed to control all the magic and rule Avalon no matter the consequences. An emphasis is set on the "power of friendship", which enables the Jewel Riders to overcome their adversaries. In the second season, the threat to Avalon is not over yet and it gets worse with an introduction of an even more dangerous adversary for the Jewel Riders to thwart. Instead of Crown Jewels, Gwen and her friends seek out another cache of magical gems while still struggling to fight off the forces of darkness and to contain the growing chaos in the magic.
Season One Edit
The story is set up during the two-part pilot episode "Jewel Quest". Princess Gwenevere, the young daughter of the rulers of Avalon, Queen Anya and King Jared, is being prepared by Merlin for the day when she would meet a bonded animal friend to share their own themed Enchanted Jewels with them. Gwen is yet to be given the magic of the royal Sun Stone in the sacred Circle of Friendship Ceremony, while her best friends Tamara and Fallon already wield the magic of the Moon Stone and the Heart Stone; their jewels, besides their own different powers, are allowing them to "ride" the tunnels through the alternate dimension of Wild Magic, as well as to communicate with their Special Friends - the magic animals of which each shares with them a similar gemstone as part of their neck collars. Gwen needs first to search for herself such an animal and thus to fulfill her destiny and become the new leader of the Jewel Riders. Suddenly, a disaster strikes when Lady Kale, a power-hungry sister of Queen Anya, discovers the mighty Dark Stone and uses it to overpower Merlin, sending him into the perilous dimension of Wild Magic to get rid of him. Kale plans to tune the magic of all the Crown Jewels of the Kingdom to herself so she can take over Avalon and reign forever. However, Merlin is not destroyed and manages to foil her by breaking the Crown Jewels' setting and sending all seven of them back to the lands from where they had come, scattering them wide across Avalon. Unfortunately, once their bond broken, magic is no longer stable and flows out of control, causing dangerous outbreaks until they are brought back together. Retrieving them is also the only way the Riders can free Merlin from being lost in the limbo of Wild Magic, and thus their titular quest begins. The girls are often assisted by the Pack, a teenage male trio of wolf-riding Knights of Avalon wielding the Forest Stones. Using the magic of the Enchanted Jewels and their friendship, they team up to prevent Kale from gaining more power, reclaim the Crown Jewels, and save Merlin and the kingdom. Gwen succeeds in getting her Special Friend, which turns out to be Sunstar, a rescued winged unicorn. Each of the Jewel Riders has her own Enchanted Jewel, which enables them to wear a Jewel Armor and travel safely through Wild Magic and reach various locations. Along their odyssey they are guided by the talking Travel Trees that act as transport stations through the invisible Wild Magic tunnels. For most of the episodes, the primary storyline tells of the Jewel Riders' efforts to locate and secure each of the Crown Jewels before Kale can take hold on them first, or to win them back if she does. The seven Crown Jewels consist of the Jewel of the North Woods (in "Travel Trees Can't Dance"), the Jewel of the Burning Ice found in the Tower of Glog at the Wizard's Peak in the snow-covered mountains (in "Wizard's Peak"), the Rainbow Jewel found inside the Rainbow Falls (in "Song of the Rainbow"), the Misty Rose Jewel found in the Misty Moors (in "For Whom the Bell Trolls"), the Desert Star Jewel of the Great Desert found in the magical realm of Faeryland (in "The Faery Princess"), Jewel of the Dreamfields (in "Dreamfields"), and the Jewel of the Jungle found in the hidden lair of the legendary wizard Morgana (in "Revenge of the Dark Stone"). During the two-part dramatic finale of the first season (in "Revenge of the Dark Stone" and "Full Circle"), Lady Kale succeeds in seizing control of the Jewel Keep at the Crystal Palace. Becoming seemingly invincible, Kale overthrows Anya, unleashes the dark magic onto Avalon, and uses her new invention of antimagic to strip the Jewel Riders of their powers. Preparing to makes herself a queen for eternity, the triumphant witch attempts to finish-off Merlin, but the wizard uses his remaining powers to pull the evil woman into Wild Magic and holds her there for long enough for the girls to release the positive magic of the Crystal Palace, revealed as the most powerful Enchanted Jewel in Avalon. Not aware of this, Kale attempts to absorb the powers of the gathered Crown Jewels which causes her to be disintegrated and sucked into the Wild Magic, and her dark spells are lifted. The girls then discover that they have entuned the Crown Jewels to their own personal jewels, enabling them to channel all the magic of Avalon. In doing so, however, they also squandered a chance of solving the magic crisis for good, as well as a chance of freeing Merlin, who he has sacrificed his own staff jewel to destroy Kale.
Season Two Edit
The Jewel Riders realize that the Crown Jewels have given them a set of new 'Level Two' armor and magic seven times more powerful than before. They girls have now at their disposal far greater magic than they ever dreamed possible but also find it difficult to use. Meanwhile, inside the Wild Magic, Lady Kale's dispersed essence is unexpectedly summoned towards a floating palace, where she materializes and meets her accidental rescuer, the elflike witch Morgana who was the creator and original wielder of the Dark Stone. Morgana had led the other ancient wizards against Merlin a millennium ago but got defeated and, losing her jewel, she has remained trapped in Wild Magic ever since then. The Dark Stone now belongs to Kale and Morgana cannot command it anymore, and so the two evil magicians, united only by their mutual hatred for Merlin, grudgingly decide to team up. Morgana sends Kale back to Avalon in search for the other Wizard Jewels that the Jewel Riders are now also looking for. The Jewel Riders need to master their enhanced powers while they continue their quest to bring Merlin home and protect Avalon, and soon they confront Morgana and realize that they are facing a formidable new enemy in addition to the returning Kale. The seven Wizard Jewels are just as hard to find as the Crown Jewels were, as they are scattered in various magical places beyond Avalon. Through most of the season the Riders are now trying to capture the jewels before they may fall into the hands of Morgana, who wants to use their magic to complete her conquest of the kingdom. At the same time, Lady Kale also seeks the Wizard Jewels for herself while supposedly working for/with Morgana. The seven Wizard Jewels consist of the Unicorn Jewel (in "Vale of the Unicorns"), the Jewel of Arden (in "Prince of the Forest"), the Garden Jewel (in "The Wizard of Gardenia"), the Jewel of the Sea (in "The Jewel of the Sea"), the Time Stone (in "Mystery Island"), the Fortune Jewel (in "The Fortune Jewel"), and the Dark Stone itself. Gwen meets a handsome but mysterious young man called Ian (a good-hearted werewolf-like who later comes to her rescue her during the final battle), falling in love with him. Tamara finds a magical animal for herself, which turns out to be a striped unicorn named Shadowsong. During the series' two-part conclusion (in "Lady of the Lake" and "The One Jewel"), set in the Heart of Avalon, the forces of light and dark meet in the deciding battle. Gwen is given the magic Staff of Avalon by the Lady of the Lake (the Spirit of Avalon) and uses it to save hers friends from a spell of Kale and Morgana, and to vanquish her wicked aunt once for all, turning Kale and her minions into crystal statues. The Riders and their various friends then band together to battle Morgana in a test of skills and wits over the collected Wizard Jewels. It seems that Morgana has prevailed, but she forgot about the now masterless Dark Stone, which was picked up by Gwen. In the final showdown, taking place in the center of the Wild Magic, the princess is aided by their friends to fuse the Dark Stone with the Sun Stone, and captures the ultimate One Jewel that Morgana forged from the Wizard Jewels. Merlin then uses the One Jewel to do away with Morgana and the ancient wizards' ghosts, and restores the balance to the magic.
Broadcast/Distribution History Edit
Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders first aired in syndication from September 9, 1995 till December 12, 1996. It was internationally syndicated by Bohbot Entertainment in the version where the title character renamed to Starla.