Netflixing: Disenchantment

in #tvlast year

Once upon a time in the 1990s, an accident in the R&D department of Walt Disney Animation Studios resulted in the creation of a new species.

This exotic specimen began to propagate until it became the dominant life form on planet Earth, and thus doomed the human race to extinction.

Disney animators and imagineers originally gave the organism the designation "UnID-3317/X", but in the years since its creation, it has come to be known by a more sinister name, more fitting of its temperament.

We call it the Anti-Princess.

Beware


There are several telltale signs by which you can spot an Anti-Princess. For your own safety, you should familiarize yourself with these key factors.

Every Anti-Princess is hyper-intelligent, possessing knowledge beyond that of any mortal, as well as a keen strategic wit and a love of books.

She also possesses lighting-fast reflexes and superhuman agility.

She knows all manner of martial arts and will plunge headfirst into any fight with deadly skill and leave disaster in her wake.

And she never fails to succeed at any endeavor she undertakes, as she is utterly without fault or flaw and can do absolutely no wrong.

If you should encounter an Anti-Princess, don't bother to run. There is nowhere to run to. All you can do is fall to your knees and accept the pummeling and execution that the movie logic demands you receive.

But in all Seriousness


The anti-princess is a part of our culture now. And she doesn't have to be a problem. She was created in an attempt to address the much-cliched princess archetype, but in the process became an even bigger cliche than the cliche she was fighting against.

Look, I understand that the traditional princess is literally Hitler.

And I understand that anyone who disagrees with that sentiment is also literally Hitler.

But honestly, I have to ask, was the traditional "fairies and unicorns" princess really that bad? She may not have gotten into fistfights or done any dragon slaying, and she was often a prisoner or hostage, but she also a number of perks, including:

  • Magic powers
  • Guardianship over various royal treasures/secrets
  • The right to issue quests, challenges, and/or contests
  • The prerogative to execute or banish the losers of said contests
  • The prerogative to marry or give treasure/secrets to the winner of said contests
  • In the case of her capture, the right to foreshadow a grisly fate for her captors as she smiles wickedly right at their faces
  • One-of-a-kind connections/friendships with otherworldly creatures (such as the aforementioned fairies and unicorns).
  • Did I mention the servants? Because seriously: she gets waited on, hand and foot, by freakin' servants!
There might be an argument to be made that the traditional princess is not the best role model for young girls. But then, the same could be said for any kind of royalty. Putting the shoe on the other foot, do you honestly think kings or princes would be good role models for boys? Should we talk about Henry VIII? About Catherine the Great? About the Borgias and the Kaisers and all the rest of them?

And it's not like princesses were the only women who existed in the middle ages. If the enforced daintiness and decorum of the princess profession offends so much that it sends you clutching for your pearls, then why not make movies about women farmers or merchants or weavers or bards or clerics or whatever other D&D class you are interested in? Or even women knights, as those actually existed in medieval Europe.

Oh Right, I'm doing a Review


Anywho, let's talk about Disenchantment.

The latest animated sitcom from Matt Groening, Disenchantment attempts to do with a fantasy setting what Futurama did with a futuristic science fiction backdrop. And, as its centerpiece and protagonist, the show goes with---what else?---an anti-princess.

Bean was the primary reason I was worried about the show before I started watching it. I was worried that she might fall into all of the typical anti-princess pitfalls (and there are a ton of them out there). And while she does wear the "NOT A PRINCESS" placard almost as loudly as Moana...

...she manages to sidestep some of the nastier cliches, mostly by being a more flawed and relatable character. She makes mistakes. She has vices. And at times she messes things up so badly that she feels the hole of despair in her, and we feel it with her.

But she is also given natural talents---notice that I said natural, not supernatural. Bean is not a Mary Sue. Every new thing that she tries does not come easy to her. But from the beginning of the series, it is shown that she is good at making friends. So, during a later episode, when she becomes an ambassador to a neighboring country, and finds that she actually excels at it, that development feels organic, and we come to understand that this character does have some core competencies that she can use to help stir the story.

The Other Characters


Developing Bean as a character, making her an anti-princess without making her pretentious or stale, understandable took a lot of effort and time. And that, unfortunately, took a lot of screen time away from the other characters.

Nevertheless, each one has their own identity and charm, and is worth examining.

Elfo is the second most developed character in the show. Living in an enchanted village with where no one is ever unhappy, he tires of the perpetual saccharine flavor of his life and wanders away to see what the real world is like.

That he has a huge crush on Bean is never concealed. And it quickly becomes his sole motivation, apart from his airheaded naivete. So far, he's really only good for being the show's dumb-sel in distress, but it fits him like a glove.

Luci is the most problematic part of the show. He's intriguing as a concept, but nowhere in the entire first season is he necessary.

As Bean's "personal demon" he functions as a kind of anti-conscience, enticing her to do things she will regret later. However, it is established at the beginning of the series that Bean is already subject to many vices well before Luci enters her life, and needs no help in making bad choices.

Stranger still is that Luci, despite being loud and proud about his mission to sow human misery across the Earth, will often help and protect other characters (not just Bean) without expecting anything in return. These acts of charity are not carried out in any kind of sinister manner. It's made clear that there are no ulterior motives. He's just...genuinely a nice guy? Yet he also brags about wanting to replace all the world's diseases with worse ones?

Perhaps he has some kind of personality disorder? I don't know. It seems more like a case of lazy writing. In any case, you could remove him from the entire season without changing almost any of the storylines.

Finally, as with Futurama and The Simpsons, Disenchantment pads out its roster with a host of side characters. And a lot of these may become interesting...in future seasons.

Unfortunately, we're just not given enough time with them here. Season 1 is only ten episodes long. Only ten episodes! In most shows, that would be barely enough time to get to know the two lead characters. In this show, it's just enough to introduce us to Bean. Based on the way Season 1 ends, I'm guessing that Season 2 is near completion (it feels like they had a full first season, but then decided to split it in two), but I could be wrong.

But I did enjoy many of the side characters, such as Bean's family. Her stepmother, Queen Oona, is literally a swamp monster with exotic tastes, and I can see that going to interesting places in the future.

The Plot


Oh yes, there is one further distinction between Disenchantment and previous Groening shows like Futurama.

Disenchantment's story is serialized. Each episode is mostly self contained, but the actions of the previous outing have direct consequences upon the story of the next. And it takes a long time to heat up.

A long time. For example, nothing particularly interesting happens until the last two episodes. And then it ends on a cliffhanger.

And I don't want to spoil anything about who the real villain turns out to be, except to say that it's basically the same person who's the biggest villain in Futurama (I'm starting to think Matt Groening has some severe mommy issues).

My Judgment


To be honest, I was planning to write a universally negative review of Disenchantment, at first.

But then a lot of reviews started popping up for it online. And those were universally negative.

Now, maybe I'm just a contrarian, but I can't say I absolutely hated the show. I recognize its flaws, yes, but I seem to remember that both The Simpsons and Futurama had problems in their first seasons, too.

Don't get me wrong, Season 1 of Futurama beats Season 1 of Disenchantment on any day of the week. Yet even when I was most bored by this show, I could not fail to see its potential. This series has enormous room to grow, especially considering the talent that is working on it. With a little support from the fans, and a little help from Netflix, I think it could be huge.

But if we don't give it that chance, then we will never see what it can become.

It's on Netflix now. I can't obligate you to give it a chance, but I think it deserves one.

Previous entries in the Netflixing series:

Past Years

TV Shows

  • Demetri Martin: The Overthinker
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • The Joel McHale Show, with Joel McHale
  • John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4
  • Trollhunters, Season 3
  • Aggretsuko
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4
  • Trollhunters
  • Round Planet
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 3
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2
  • Kakegurui
  • Planet Earth II
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2
  • Revolting Rhymes
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1
  • The Polka King
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Movies

  • Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Mary and the Witch's Flower
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Coco
  • The Iron Giant
  • Jaws
  • Phantom Boy
  • The Boss Baby
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  • Strictly Ballroom
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    @talanhorne,
    I think they might think about changing the animation type! Coz they made "Moana", so we all know what they can do! Great review and waiting to read the next one!

    Cheers~

    I love your reviews i mean you have and excellent criteria to highlight the strengths and not strengths of each serie. Regards

    Excellent review my dear friend and your writing is very good. your writing skill are very well. thank you very much for sharing with us

    Interesting review, I did not think that there is a term anti-princess. Thanks, it really is.

    @talanhorne - Sir you made a long article with valuable information about this tv show... I like to watch this anime series... Thank you Sir, you write an excellent review & it's pleasure to read such useful contents...

    +W+

    A wonderful review ,This is very interesting article and such a amazing netflix tv series.
    thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for the review it was nice to go along with it :)

    What an amazing blog post thank you so much for sharing.

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    Congratulations @talanhorne
    Now you are in the MinnowsPower Loyalty Member List...!!!

    Exceptional review of 'Disenchantment' & excellent writing...!!!

    100% Upvoted by @MinnowsPower

    You summarized the story & reviewed it so well. You didn't see the TV series as a failed one. We have some thing to get from it. Excellent post & thank you.

    One thing is for sure, I definitely wouldn’t want to get under any of anti-princesses skin. They are strongly opinionated with deadly skills, magic powers and great moves.

    This series has enormous room to grow, especially considering the talent that is working on it.

    Time will tell! Great and very creative review @talanhorne!

    Once upon a time in the 1990s, an accident in the R&D department of Walt Disney Animation Studios resulted in the creation of a new species.

    Sometimes accidents are having the best results. Perhaps, because things that happen by accident are at some point unique and original.

    And I understand that anyone who disagrees with that sentiment is also literally Hitler.

    I better not to disagree! 😆 Your characters may not call themselves as a princess, they can even call themselves as anti princesses, but at the end, they always want to be treated like a princess.

    This is really this tv story. best writing &good post .@talanhorne

    Wow! Amazing and awrsome recviews. I'm really very fond of watching Netflix movies on Sunday at my cousin's home!!😍🤗💚💙

    This is an amazing movie and tge ending was brilliant and so smoothly described!! 💖

    Thanks for sharing this post @talanhorne sir.

    @talanhorne this is perfect work.
    That is great and interesting review with valuable tv series . thanks for sharing.
    Resteem

    There are so many powerful thoughts and well description included story summery @talanhorne.

    Interesting article & base on your judgement I got average feeling of the show. Thank you & nice review.

    @talanhorne, Your review of the Disenchantment so perfect. It's feel like much better to me. Characters introducing powerful strength indeed. Nice you decided to share steemit.

    Very good at writing for this article and for quality efforts.this is interesting tv series and wonderful work.
    @talanhorne
    100% like and resteem

    Seemed nice anime movie. But not sure will find and then watch. Some places not interested scene entered to this. But whole movie seems like better.

    Well you shared your thoughts in a nice way thanks for sharing the review would skip this one might be

    That would be perfect analyzing of the "Disenchantment" best anime movie. I'm totally stunning with this characters and King looks best for me.

    The wonderful tv series and great writing experience. it is good work
    Thanks @talanhorne
    Have a great day

    Great work dear

    Very beautiful cartoon....very Amazing review .. Most funny cartoon...i think everyone like this funny movie....very Amazing tailer....All childrens likes this funny cartoon....i think this cartoon movie popular in the world Very interesting story....thanks for sharing dear...

    great days it was watching disney cartoons all the day 😍

     last year Reveal Comment
     last year Reveal Comment

    The trailers were misleading, yes.

    The first season probably would have worked better as a travelogue, introducing new locations and new characters with each episode. Then they could build narratives with those characters and locations in later seasons.