For the first time in nearly 20 years, Matt Groening has released a new adult animated series. After practically inventing the genre with The Simpsons and Futurama, Groening moved to Netflix with Disenchantment. A medieval fantasy with lots of Groening-type humor, how does this fare in Groening’s fascinating career? Read our Disenchantment review below!
The world of animation for adults has changed wildly since Groening came into the picture. Since The Simpsons has been dragging on for nearly 30 years, we often forget it was a game-changer. Nowadays, we’re used to having a variety of grown-up cartoons, with varying levels of influence over pop culture. Family Guy, Rick & Morty, South Park, BoJack Horseman; these arguably wouldn’t exist without Groening. We consume TV differently now than we did when Groening started out. It’s hard for a show to be as massive as The Simpsons was in the early 90s.
The competition is tough these days… and Disenchantment doesn’t come out on top. But that speaks more about the state of the genre than it does about the show itself. It’s a solid show and a much more plot-driven story than Simpsons and Futurama.
So, What’s Disenchantment?
Matt Groening’s first show since Futurama, it’s a medieval fantasy set in a place called Dreamland. Think of an animated Dungeons & Dragons adventure with lots of jokes. It stars Bean (Abbi Jacobson), a teenage princess in a quest for freedom. She’s accompanied by an elf (Nat Faxon) and a cat-like demon (Eric André). They go through the usual fiery princess tropes, starting with her avoidance of an arranged marriage.
How Groening Is This?
Very. The character design is definitely a throwback to Simpsons and Futurama. In an extra wink, Elfo’s outfit is basically the same as Bart Simpson’s.
There’s a really interesting combination of traditional animation and very detailed CGI backgrounds. Another throwback? The hilarious signs on the background, a Groening comedy trademark. A personal favorite is a shop called “VII XI.” I think any Disenchantment review should note the familiarity of Groening’s humor. It’s certainly a plus!
Character-wise, the leading trio could easily be related to the Futurama crowd. Bean has some of Leela in her, although more of Marion from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Elfo is a far more innocent version of Fry, only much more pathetic. And Luci is basically Bender stuck in the body of a cat-like demon.
Disenchantment Review Verdict
A fun show to binge, particularly for fans of previous Groening entries. Its premise isn’t wildly new, and it’s something the original Shrek did better. But there’s a lot of potential in having this kind of humor in a Dragon Age-type setting.
It might not the greatest animated show for adults out there, but it’s a solid effort. Mr. Groening and his team still have it in them, even if Springfield hasn’t made sense in over a decade.