January 21, 2005 – The Animated Series American Dragon: Jake Long Premieres on Disney Channel
“He’s young, he’s fast, he’s the chosen one.”
On January 21, 2005, the animated series American Dragon: Jake Long premiered on the Disney Channel. The series revolved around character Jake Long, who is secretly from a long line of dragons, and must train to become the American Dragon, defender of all mythical creatures hidden in New York City. It lasted for 52 episodes in two seasons. The series was created by Jeff Goode, and stars Dante Basco as Jake, Keone Young as Lao Shi, John DiMaggio as Fu Dog, Mae Whitman as Rose/Huntsgirl, and Jeff Bennett as Huntsman.
The series’ first episode, “Old School Training,” starts off with an explanation from Lao Shi, Jake’s grandfather, laying out the responsibility Jake has in protecting all the mystical creatures hidden within New York City. Jake needs to master his training, but Jake seems more preoccupied with the cool side of being a dragon rather than honing his skills. Lao Shi tries to get Jake to understand that he must pay attention, when Lao Shi’s companion Fu Dog discovers the tracks of the Huntsman. The Huntsman is out tracking unicorns, and it’s up to Jake to stop him. Jake is worried about going after the Huntsman alone, and while he gets the courage to attack, he messes up. When Jake finally gets his act together, he gets knocked out by the Huntsgirl. Jake is saved by Lao Shi, and Lao Shi announces that they will be upping his training. At school the next day, Jake’s teacher Professor Rotwood starts lecturing his students on dragons but Jake is not paying attention. Rotwood is bitter because his fervor for mythological creatures has made him a laughingstock in the educational community.
After class, Jake’s friends Trixie and Spud invite him to skateboard in the park, but Jake heads off to work in his grandfather’s shop. As he leaves, he bumps into a girl, and he is immediately smitten with her. As Jake arrives to training, he is unaware that he is being watched by the Huntsman and Huntsgirl. The training Jake has, however, is less than ideal, with Lao Shi having Jake clean the toilet with his dragon tongue. Jake then has to continue doing more “old school” training, as Lao Shi puts it, but it’s more like chores that Jake doesn’t want to do. He heads home and complains to his mom, wishing that he was just a normal kid, like his dad. His dad is unaware that he’s married into a family of mythical dragons, and his mom won’t tell him. Jake is still upset that he’s got a whole city to protect, but Jake’s mom reassures him that all he needs to do is trust his grandfather. At school the next day, Jake spies the new girl, who is named Rose, and as he starts dreaming about her, he is interrupted by Trixie and Spud. They invite him out again, but Jake has to turn them down and head to his training. Angered by the chores he has to do, Jake decides to ditch training and head off with his friends.
At the shop, Lao Shi is worried as Jake is an hour late, and the Huntsman and Huntsgirl arrive to attack Lao Shi. Lao Shi attacks at first, but is soon captured. Fu Dog manages to escape by flushing himself down the toilet, and goes to look for Jake. In the sewers, he comes across an old friend of his, a one-eyed sewer troll, who helps him get to the East Side. Fu Dog finds Jake, and explains that Lao Shi has been kidnapped. While Fu Dog thinks they should get help, Jake believes he can handle it alone and save his grandfather. Unfortunately, Jake’s antics nearly ruin his father’s dinner with his clients, though his father conveniently misses Jake’s dragon form appearance. Jake arrives and battles the Huntsgirl. As the Huntsman takes over, Lao Shi calls out a few commands from the chores, and Jake realizes that he really was being trained all along. Jake manages to defeat the Huntsman with an unconventional method, and saves his grandfather; he then promises to go to training on time from now on.