Review: ‘Disenchantment’ compels viewers

From creators Matt Groening and Josh Weinstein (both known from their work on “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”) comes a new animated adventure following a princess, her pet demon and an elf in a fantasy world.
“Disenchantment,” which premiered Aug. 27 on Netflix, tells the story of Princess Tiabeanie “Bean” of Dreamland and her misadventures with her elf friend Elfo (that really is his name) and her new personal demon, Luci.
Luci is my favorite character from the show, not only in the design and writing of the character’s lines, but in voice-over artist Eric Andre’s delivery of the lines. The show also stars Abbi Jackson, Mat Dixon and “Futurama” voice acting veteran John DiMaggio.
There are 10 episodes in the first season with each running a little under 30 minutes. For all the bingers out there, you can get through it in one night if you want. (Just remember to study first.)
It maintains a similar art, character design and comedy style to Groening’s other shows. Many of the jokes did land, although comedy is subjective. For the most part, this show is more of a dark comedy and not laugh-out-loud funny. Due to this, the show is able to hit its stride in many areas. The world these characters inhabit, while fictional, does feel real in a sense and some of the ways they incorporate certain mythological creatures into the story feels unique to this universe.
For those who are fans of Groening’s previous work, there are a couple of Easter eggs from other shows, which are always cool to find.
In terms of animation and voice action, they are stellar for most of the season. There are a few moments when the backgrounds seem dull and lifeless, but those are few and far between. On occasion, some characters have very wooden or stiff movements.
There are also occasional action sequences thrown in, each of which are well-animated and choreographed, but never stand apart from each other. Nonetheless, they do bring excitement into episodes.
That said, another gripe is that it was difficult to tell if the show was trying to be an episodic series or serial. There are plot lines that carry over to later episodes, and the final episodes show what clearly matters, but it was still hard to make that distinction. That criticism may be a little unfair, but it is an issue with other popular animated series as well and must be addressed.
It was shocking—to an extent—regarding the season finale in terms of some plot twists. Some were visible from a mile away while others genuinely were shocking, which is good. In this era of mass media, there are so many stories out there, and as a television and film lover, it is nearly impossible to surprise. This show did, at least briefly. Hopefully, it will shock you too.
Overall, if you are a fan of “Futurama” or “The Simpsons,” then you should like this unless you are not a fan of dark comedies. It was fun watching these episodes and I feel that when you need a break from studying, homework or just want to relax after a long day at work, “Disenchantment” is something to count on. Season two is expected to premiere in Aug. 2019.

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