Hulu launches a new original series for children called The Bravest Knight that features a blended family of two fathers and their adopted daughter Nia. We chatted with T.R. Knight and Storm Reid to find out more about this wonderful new show.
The show is based off the popular children’s book by Daniel Errico “The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived,” the story chronicles a young pumpkin farmer’s adventure as he attempts to become the bravest knight who ever lived. The show is a fun way to showcase some valuable learning in short episodes. We watched the first three episodes together, and my youngest really enjoyed them and was captivated by the story for the full episode.
At the center of our story is Sir Cedric voiced by T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) and Nia voiced by Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time). Nia is training to be the bravest knight like her dad and Sir Cedric likes to teach her through stories of his time as a “not yet knight” when he was young. The show goes back and forth to the past to help share those stories.
Nia is a fantastic role model for little ones, especially girls.
“She [Nia] is very energetic and headstrong, and she really exudes girl power, which I think is very inspiring for other little girls that are watching and just young people in general to just not have any fears, and try to do what you want to do,” Storm Reid says. “And you may make mistakes, but you have to just get back up and try again.”
What do you hope little girls will take from the lessons that Nia is learning on the show?
“Be themselves,” Reid says. “And even though, Nia is training to be the bravest night, not at all times are you going to be brave. Sometimes you’re going to be scared, or sometimes you’re going to be scared of taking risks, but that shouldn’t stop you. Just know that they are perfectly imperfect and they don’t have to conform to what society wants them to be or what society wants them to look like. If they want to get rough and dirty, they can, and they shouldn’t feel any type of way about it. So I just hope they really find themselves within the show and really kind of connect with Nia and to themselves and just really know that they are worthy enough of being seen and being heard. And they could also be themselves while doing that.”
I’m kind of in love with Storm Reid. This girl is going places and has a great head on her shoulders.
Representation in the LGBTQ and adoption community
With a show breaking down barriers, we wanted to know more about some of the issues The Bravest Knight may be tackling. While the show is geared toward children, there are some wonderful lessons to learn as well.
“I think the lessons are based in kind of like love and tolerance and bravery and friendship,” T.R. Knight says. “Some of us learned them as kids, and I think some people need to learn them as adults too.”
“It is not only for children; it can be for the entire family, Reid says. “It does have positive messaging, and it does have inclusive lessons within the show.”
Do you feel more shows like this should be created, and why?
“Absolutely, I think more shows should be created,” Reid says. “Not only do we need that in children’s programming, but I feel like the things that we create or either consume as audiences should be represented by like the entire world, and nobody should be excluded. I feel like if you don’t see yourself represented, then you don’t feel like you can succeed. Especially at a younger age. We are trying to make baby steps into trying to get more pro programming like this.”
How do you feel about your character getting to represent an aspect of your life as a gay man? What is that like for you to be able to show that to a younger audience?
“When I grew up, I never saw myself represented,” Knight says. “Even if there were gay people represented, I didn’t feel it was a representation of my life or really what I was going through. When you don’t see yourself anywhere in the world, it’s not only extremely lonely, but you feel like you don’t exist or you feel like you shouldn’t exist.
I’m happy I’m living in a time that shows like this are happening. That there seems to be something in the air lately. Certain people who’ve been asleep for a while have started to wake up and realize that what we see on television and film is not like the real world. And that goes for not only just sexuality but race and gender as well. It’s really exciting,” Knight says.
Aside from the story featuring a gay couple, it also focuses on the adoption of a little girl. In the current climate, I wanted to know if T.R. Knight thought shows like The Bravest Knight would impact the community in regards to adoption.
“I’m constantly surprised lately,” Knight says. “It seems like rights are being rolled back versus rolling forward in some areas. It’s more than concerning. It’s hard not to find it frightening. With all of the kids who need homes that you would not allow a loving, same-sex parent to adopt is insane to me. It’s just; it’s madness! I hope that by the time I’m worm food, more hearts are open.”
Children seem to be more tolerant than grown-ups in many different aspects across the board in terms of social issues. What is your message to parents regarding the show?
“Just be accepting and just be loving and try to think about that love instead of hate and trying to combat the intolerance and the indifference or the injustices that go on in the world,” Reid says. “And I feel like you can start with your children by teaching them to love everyone because I feel like even though you may be teaching your children not to love somebody because of who they are, that’s not going to help.
Not only for the children to be accepting, but I feel like parents have to be accepting as well to be able to teach their children there. So I would just say have empathy and sympathy for people’s situations and just try to understand everybody is who they are. That would be my best advice,” Reid says.
“The series focuses on this little girl learning lessons,” Knight says. “That’s what the show, what all the shows are about. It’s her show and it just so happens to be that her parents are two men versus a man and a woman. If one doesn’t close themselves and actually watches the show, you’ll see that that is the focus. It’s all the focus that these two parents and the love that they have for their daughter.”
Working on the project
When you were first approached with this project, what were your initial thoughts?
“I was super excited when my team sent it over, especially reading what the show was about,” Reid says. “I’m always trying to pick projects that are impactful, and that will impact the people that I won’t even meet. I always wanted to do an animation project, but to have an animation project that wasn’t just like silly and fun and, yes, our show is silly and fun, but it does have a deeper meaning behind it, and it will evoke conversation hopefully. So I was sold as soon as they sent it over to me.”
“Similar for me, I hadn’t done animation before,” Knight says. “I think the fact that I was also already aware of the book added to the excitement, I think. Knowing Storm was a part of it added a lot of excitement to it for me. In this acting life to be able to be a part of something that has a meaning behind it, it’s a beautiful message.
It’s rare that voice actors get to work together in the studio, but T.R. Knight and Storm Reid were about to record together. They didn’t get a chance to meet any of the other great cast members like Bobby Moynihan as young Cedric’s troll sidekick “Grunt,” Storm Reid as Not-Yet-Knight “Nia,” and will also feature the voice talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Wilson Cruz, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, Chance Hurstfield and more.
The new series is breaking boundaries, featuring a household with two dads (Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew), making it one of the first children’s television series with an openly gay main character. Following the inspiring and perseverant former pumpkin farmer, Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, The Bravest Knight recounts personal tales of his journey. Sir Cedric shares his story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia, on how he transformed from day-time farmer to full-fledged knight. Nia, who is training to become a brave knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion; proving that knighthood is much more than slaying dragons.
The Bravest Knight’s opening theme song was written and performed by Grammy-nominated musician, songwriter and activist Justin Tranter.
T.R. Knight and Storm Reid hope with the show is to start an open dialogue in households. I think it will do just that.
The first five episodes will premiere on Hulu June 21, followed by additional episodes later this year.