Disenchantment, Matt Groening’s most recent animated series on Netflix, is pretty good despite feeling like just another Groening animated series.
The story starts out in a fairly standard fantasy tale way: Princess Tiabeanie (Bean for short) does not want to get married to a prince for political reasons. Things get worse when she is cursed with her own personal demon, Luci, and accidentally befriends a banished elf named Elfo who was tired of being happy all the time.
Luci and Elfo effectively act as an angel and demon on Bean’s shoulders, and almost each episodes plot hinges on whether or not she acts on their suggestions. To give you an idea of what kind of choices Bean likes to make, a good description of her character is a drunk who would rather cause mischief than attend to her royal duties. It’s from these choices that most of the plot and hilarity happens.
\But despite this difference in the main characters, Disenchantment feels a lot like Futurama but fantasy instead of science fiction. Bean is basically Fry, and Luci and Elfo are any mix of characters’ who have given advice over the years. And while the three main characters voice actors are not Groeining’s go-to ones, the rest of the characters are. It’s very hard not to hear John DiMaggio’s Bender in King Zog or Billy West’s
Professor Farnsworth in Sorcerio. It doesn’t help that all of the characters have that Simpson’s look to them.
What Disenchantment does to separate itself from Futurama is give more of a sense of overall plot. While Futurama did have somewhat of a story arc, it also had episodes that made light of topical issues of when it came out. Groening is able to go a different direction with Disenchantment, because it all comes out at once on Netflix. The series’s plot benefits from not being constrained from this weekly schedule.
I will say, like most animated series, the early episodes do take some getting used to. It is partly because of the world building that every TV show must set up. But I feel that they spend a little too much time in Dreamland, Bean’s home. Some of the best episodes take place when they are outside the castle walls, learning about what can and cannot happen in this fantasy world. The last three episodes of the 10-episode “Part 1” are definitely its strongest.
By: Jack Dunn | U.S. & World News Editor