Disenchantment - Season One [TV Series] (Cover Artwork)


Season One [TV Series] (2018)


As a big fan of the work of Matt Groening, both The Simpsons and Futurama have been staples in my life for years, so I was excited to get into the Netflix funded Disenchantment. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but to keep things simple Disenchantment is Groening and company’s stab at a fantasy story. For covering relatively new terrain, Disenchantment’s first season feels like a success.

Disenchantment is set in a medieval fantasy kingdom named “Dreamland”. The main protagonist throughout the season is Princess Tiabeanie, otherwise known simply as Princess Bean, who is as her title might suggest, the princess of Dreamland who is always rebelling against her cantankerous father King Zog. Throughout the 10 episodes, Bean is kept company by her new friend Elfo, who is a naïve but good spirited and upbeat elf from a little known Elf kingdom, as well as Bean’s own personal demon named Luci (commonly mistaken for a cat by King Zog). This trio keeps things fresh as you have the darker bad influence of Luci, and the bright and childlike presentation of Elfo that both work to balance out the main character. Elfo and Luci are respectively the devil and angel traveling on Princess Bean’s shoulders. It is also worth noting that the majority of the comedic value comes from the back and forth interplay between Luci and Elfo while Princess Bean is more task focused and busy.

Disenchantment as a work of Groening’s is much closer in presentation to Futurama than The Simpsons. There is clear continuity throughout the 10 episodes, and into the next season, as opposed to The Simpsons, which essentially conclude with the end of each episode. The humor is dark and off beat, but not to the obnoxious point of South Park or Family Guy. The humor is subtle and well placed, as is true with the majority of Groening’s work. The story line I found to be top heavy, although, there is some redemption in the last two episodes, the majority of the laughs comes from episodes 1-5. The beginning of the season is effective at character development and pace setting, however throughout the middle the direction of the show seems to flounder prior to the concluding climax of the final episode. Things seem to get a little bit more all over the place and scattered from the midpoint, however I think depending on where they take the second season, this may right itself.

Disenchantment is not quite of the calibre of Groening’s aforementioned Futurama or The Simpsons, but both of these shows have set the bar impossibly high. Competing with a TV show that has not only made history from its longevity, but also set the tone for a generation, is no easy feat, and one I don’t think any previous fans expected. That being said, as far as a foray into a fantasy comedy, Disenchantment stacks up nicely. The jokes are solid and characters are well defined. Elfo and King Zog, the latter voiced by John DiMaggio, are the most stand out, but none of the characters leave you confused as to the meaning of their existence, as was the case with the ill-fated bear from The Cleveland Show.

Disenchantment is worth the watch, especially if you are a fan of Matt Groening’s work, and of course, of adult cartoon comedy. If you are expecting a remake of The Simpsons, disappointment is sure to follow, but given the proper chance, Disenchantment will contribute nicely to a stellar comedic legacy.