Kat Riddler, Staff Writer
Are you a fan of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”? Then you might like Matt Groening’s latest creation on Netflix, “Disenchantment.”
“Disenchantment” follows Tiabeanie Mariabeanie De La Rochambeaux Drunkowitz, “Bean,” the irresponsible princess of Dreamland, her elf companion Elfo and her demon Luci. Bean is a non-traditional princess who enjoys drinking and avoiding her princess duties like getting married. The series is a medieval fantasy that stars the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Eric Andre, Nat Faxon, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Matt Berry, David Herman, Maurice LaMarche, Lucy Montgomery and Billy West.
Twenty episodes were ordered by Netflix and 10 episodes were released on Aug. 17. Each episode is about 30 minutes, so you can easily binge watch the first season easily.
The first couple episodes are a little rough around the edges, especially when you look at the characters. I think the character Elfo is one of the big problems. He is full of angst when he is living in Elfwood, but magically becomes a cheery elf when he ventures off to Dreamland. I also believe his romantic interest in Bean is a little forced. I enjoyed Bean’s romantic side, expressed through her creativity of avoiding spending time with princes and just trying to be a regular female teenager, but I guess the producers felt they needed a love interest … and there are only so many princes in a kingdom.
Bean could use a little more fleshing out as well. Mysterious, evil sorcerers send Luci to lead Bean down the wrong path. Overall, it is hard to tell if Luci’s presence truly changed Bean. Elfo seems to serve as the positive angel on her shoulder, while Luci fills the archetypal devil constantly telling Bean to “do it” when faced with a choice. Bean is a disobedient teenager and seems to have already made bad decisions before, so what is to say she wouldn’t have had these adventures without Elfo or Luci?
Characters also seem to come and go fast in the first half of the season. The second prince Bean is to marry, Prince Merkimer, is turned into a pig at the end of one episode. He is gone for an episode then pops back up for a couple scenes at a castle party. His character could have been great in the later series, but he vanishes again for more episodes. There was an ogre that Elfo met with daggers in its eyes in the first couple episodes, then he just stops appearing, too. A couple of the knights of Dreamland, including notable character Turbish, come and go in the series, but it seems more natural for their characters. It might just be Groening is fitting too much story into the 20 episodes or it could be Groening is trying to appease different audiences and could not commit to keeping the characters.
The animation and comedy are closer to “Futurama” with alien-like races in the series. King Zøg, Bean’s father, is remarried to Queen Oona, a salamander-type creature from Dankmire. In one of the episodes, the characters travel to Dankmire. It is basically a swamp city and the reptilian culture of the city is explained as Bean tries to live up to the honor of being an ambassador for Dreamland.
Generally, reviewers seemed negative or indifferent about the series and could not get past the rough-around-the-edges presentation. Overall, I really enjoyed the comedy and stories. Hopefully we will see the next 10 episodes soon and get to know the characters a little better.
“Disenchantment” is 8 out of 10.