Television disenchantment-part-2-netflix

Published on September 26th, 2019 | by Ian Goodwillie

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Disenchantment – Season One B

Take Game of Thrones and smush it together with something like The Simpsons or Futurama and you have Disenchantment, a show that grows on you.

Even before the end of Game of Thrones, critics and fans started speculating on what the next Game of Thrones would be. It happens every time a show that’s captured the cultural zeitgeist comes to an end. People start wondering what they’re going to obsess about next. So, the incessant, annoying question has been, “What’s the next Game of Thrones?” As if anyone could ever predict that with any level of accuracy. Here’s a suggestion.

Disenchantment.

Last year, (half of) season one of the then new Matt Groening collaboration with Netflix dropped. It tells the story of Dreamland, a medieval kingdom steeped in mysticism and Futurama-esque ridiculousness. The focus of the series is the princess of Dreamland, Bean, and her friends Lucy the Demon and Elfo the Elf. They set off on a series of adventures while bigger narratives play out in the background.

As a quick aside, if you’re thinking that the name “Elfo” is a little on the nose, you’re not wrong. In an homage to The Smurfs, the elves all have names that are indicative of their personalities and/or jobs, all ending in the letter “o.” For instance, Superviso is the supervisor of the candy factory in the hidden kingdom of Elfwood. Elfo was named something so obvious to cover up any questions of his true lineage.

Season One B is now on Netflix and it does not disappoint. It continues to develop the core group of characters while layering in new mysteries and storylines to follow.

One of the biggest changes between the two halves of the season is the elves leaving Elfwood behind and moving into Dreamland. It creates an interesting narrative relating to how King Zog treats and perceives an entirely new race living directly under his rule. Living out in the open creates new storylines and threats for the elves. Also, watching them get drunk is a lot of fun.

But what makes Disenchantment a worthy successor to Game of Thrones comes in two parts.

The most obvious comparison is the setting. Both are fantasy series with a medieval look to them that tell sword and sorcery stories in a grand way. They both have wizards and witches, heroes and villains, and monsters galore. Keeping in mind that one is an animated comedy and the other a live action drama, they do have some surprising similarities in this regard.

The second similarity is a lot more subtle. Game of Thrones was famous for a multi faceted story that progressed slowly over many seasons, dropping hints and red herrings along the way. So far, Disenchantment is coming across the same way.

Several mysteries were started in season one and they have progressed in season two, but next to none of them are even close to being resolved. If anything, we’re even further away from the truth in some cases. On top of that, they keep adding more mysteries to the pile throughout the new season. This subtly slow build could play out well over the coming seasons, though hopefully the gear doesn’t shift to the breakneck speed of the final season of Game of Thrones.

Said final season wasn’t the horror show most people made it out to be, but its pace was more than a little jarring.

Despite how awesome Disenchantment is and how much potential it has, very few watchers will turn to it as a potential successor to Game of Thrones. There are a lot of people who say they don’t like “adult animation” and wouldn’t watch The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, or Archer, let alone Disenchantment. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they are definitely missing out. Even if someone is inclined to enjoy adult animation, they still probably aren’t likely to view a cartoon as a worthy successor to Game of Thrones.

Regardless, Disenchantment is a fantastic series that has its own tone that differentiates it from the rest of Groening’s shows. Season one and one B have done an incredible job of introducing the world and building on it. Season two will be where this series really shines as questions get answered and the story comes further into focus.

Or they’ll drag it out for a few more seasons, then rush to a conclusion that many people just find highly unsatisfying. Whatever works best for them.

That’s just good storytelling.

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About the Author

Ian Goodwillie

is an established freelance writer, a regular contributor to both Prairie books NOW and The Winnipeg Review. He also writes two blogs that very few people pay attention to, a Twitter feed no one follows, and film scripts that will never see the light of day. He is very fulfilled by his career choice.



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