REVIEW: ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,’ Season 2 Episode 1 – “Ice Breaker”

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The Might Ducks Game Changers Season 2 - But Why Tho

The Might Ducks: Game Changers Season 2 premiere kicked off on Disney+ condemning the newly minted Mighty Ducks’ rink, the Ice Palace, and sending the kids off to California for a summer hockey camp. Only the camp meant to invite the original, much better Mighty Ducks team. So the kids are in for a bit of a different summer than they bargained for.

The million-dollar question since shortly after the first season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers wrapped, and it became clear that Emilio Estévez would not be returning, has been whether the show could go on without him. And, one episode in, the jury is still out, frankly. The season starts off perfectly fine. It’s not like his character was the end all be all of the show by any means, but his absence, as well as the absence of series regulars Bella Higginbotham and Kiefer O’Reilly, are certainly felt. While the show was perhaps a bit bloated last season, to the point where not every kid got enough time to shine or grow, the lack of their distinct personalities is a bit apparent.

Everything is just a bit run-of-the-mill in this premiere. We already well-established in the first season that the team is ragtag but plays with heart. What will stand apart as they’re thrown into a different but even more intense environment? How will the six players we already know grow this season while leaving room for new cast members too? HSMTMTS managed to pull this exact challenge off quite well, so I have faith that Mighty Ducks can do it, but its cast has never been as strong as the former, and its story doesn’t have campiness to lean on either.

The time gap between filming seasons poses a real challenge too. The kids are so clearly older now than they were then, and the writing is going to have to reflect that, even if the show is meant to only take place a few months later. Sam (De’Jon Watts) and even more so Nick (Maxwell Simkins) won’t be able to just rely on being cute anymore to carry their line deliveries. Their scripts will have to be more mature, and in Episode 1, they did not feel like they met that need quite yet. On the other hand, the painfully contrived romance between Evan (Brady Noon) and Sofi (Swayam Bhatia) at least has the opportunity for a bit of a reset. It was something I detested about the first season, but they skip right to them being in a relationship in the Might Ducks Season 2 Premiere, and their being clearly older now may help take some of the cringe off.

Where I’m also paying close attention is the role Alex (Lauren Graham) plays this season. She’s still Evan’s mother and the team’s coach, of course, but she’s quite overbearing. While it was fine when the kids were younger, and she had Bombay (Estévez) as her foil, it’s impossible to tell whether she and new coach Cole (Josh Duhamel) will have similar chemistry. I want to see the kids have the freedom and breathing room that they explicitly ask for and that they get (some of) as they get older. There’s a place for her agita in this equation, I’m sure, but hopefully, it plays just a bit less of a prominent role than it did in the season opener as a whole over the season.

The Might Ducks: Game Changers Season 2 premiere is fine. It’s not leaving me craving more just yet, but its strong first season left enough goodwill to warrant giving the season a few episodes to find its footing and do its own thing. It can’t quite help its casting changes, so hopefully, the remaining cast can flourish with a slightly smaller team, and the newcomers can help bring some much-needed change in pace to the story as the characters age and things need to change to remain good.

The Might Ducks: Game Changers Season 2 is streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes airing on Wednesdays.


The Might Ducks: Game Changers Season 2 Episode 1 - "Ice Breaker"
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

The Might Ducks: Game Changers Season 2 premiere is fine. It’s not leaving me craving more just yet, but its strong first season left enough goodwill to warrant giving the season a few episodes to find its footing and do its own thing. It can’t quite help its casting changes, so hopefully, the remaining cast can flourish with a slightly smaller team, and the newcomers can help bring some much-needed change in pace to the story as the characters age and things need to change to remain good.

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