The first half season of Disenchantment has its rough patches, but it wins out. Advertised as “The Simpsons meets Game Of Thrones”, Matt Groening’s newest series succeeds by establishing friendships between unique, likeable characters who are led by their basest urges.
While the intro hints at a new-place-every-episode adventure (think Rick and Morty), the show quickly changes tune and spends the rest of the season centered in Dreamland, a choice that I think doubles the shows charm. It gives the opportunity for a large cast of consistent supporting characters, and Dreamland itself is too rich in comedy to leave behind. The rampant poverty and plague-ridden dead bodies that fill the streets of Dreamland provide such a contrast from the fairytale cliche that deviating to other locations would be a disservice.
Another major accomplishment for Disenchantment is the exceptional casting. All four leads absolutely nail the details of their character in ways that make us love them even at their most evil. Abbi Jacobson as Bean elevates the show, almost endearing in her portrayal as the good-natured brat that exists within all of us. In fact, if the series didn’t revolve around Bean, it wouldn’t be half as good. It’s rare to see a princess from a medieval kingdom who also happens to be a gambling, booze-chugging, ne’er-do-well troublemaker.
The one thing I hope they change in the second half of the season is Luci. Netflix really needs to pay more attention to him and his potential. When the series started, I thought he’d play a much larger role than he did, but it became clear very quickly that the series mostly revolved around Bean and Elfo, with Luci almost becoming a supporting character. While his demeanour is reminiscent of Bender from Groening’s last show Futurama, the way the animation style differs so drastically from the rest of Dreamland provides the show with the opportunity to turn this contrast into something great.
Clearly Netflix are doing something right, with the pilot episode garnering 4.4 million views within it’s first 3 days of release.
What do you think of the show? Is there another Groening show you prefer? Let me know in the comments!