Disenchantment (TV series)

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Disenchantment
Disenchantment title card.png
Genre
Created byMatt Groening
Developed by
Voices of
ComposerMark Mothersbaugh
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2 (4 parts)
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
Running time19–36 minutes
Production company
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatUltra HD 4K
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseAugust 17, 2018 (2018-08-17) –
present (present)

Disenchantment is an American animation satirical fantasy sitcom created by Matt Groening for Netflix. The series is Groening's first production to appear exclusively on a streaming service; he previously created The Simpsons and Futurama for the Fox Broadcasting Company. Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, the series follows the story of Bean, a rebellious and alcoholic princess, her naïve elf companion Elfo, and her destructive "personal demon" Luci. Disenchantment stars the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, Nat Faxon, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Matt Berry, David Herman, Maurice LaMarche, Lucy Montgomery, and Billy West.

Four batches of 10 episodes have been released for a total of 40 episodes. The first part debuted in August 2018, the second in September 2019, the third in January 2021, and the fourth in February 2022. The series has received fairly positive reviews.

Premise[edit]

Set in the fictional, medieval European kingdom of Dreamland, the series follows the story of Bean, a rebellious, alcoholic, and adventurous princess, her elf companion Elfo, and her destructive but caring "personal demon" Luci. Over the course of four parts, the troupe explores Dreamland and other neighboring lands and uncovers a mythical conspiracy.

Voice cast and characters[edit]

  • Abbi Jacobson as Bean, a 19-year old princess from Dreamland.[1] Her full name is Princess Tiabeanie Mariabeanie de la Rochambeau Grunkwitz.[2] She enjoys drinking. Though she has a rebellious personality, she still has a bit of care for the people of Dreamland, her father and her friends. Over the course of the series she begins to become aware that she has a magical power that produces black lightning, this may be because of the magic granted to her ancestors when they made a deal to become more powerful.
  • Eric André as Luci, Bean's personal demon[1]
    • as Pendergast, the head of King Zøg's knights[1]
  • Nat Faxon as Elfo, an 18-year-old half-elf from Elfwood. He is optimistic and likes candy.
  • John DiMaggio as King Zøg, Bean's father and the ruler of Dreamland[1] of the Royal House of Grunkwitz
  • Tress MacNeille as Queen Oona, King Zøg's second and former wife and Bean's stepmother. She is a humanoid amphibian creature from Dankmire who married into the family as part of an alliance between the kingdoms.[1]
    • as Prince Derek, Zøg's and Oona's hybrid son, and Bean's half-brother[1]
  • Matt Berry as Prince Merkimer, from the kingdom of Bentwood, who is arranged to marry Bean, but was turned into a pig[1]
  • Maurice LaMarche as Odval, the three-eyed prime minister of Dreamland[1]
  • Sharon Horgan as Queen Dagmar, Bean's mother and first wife of King Zøg. It is revealed that she was an evil sorceress and tyrant who wanted to force Bean to complete her family's debt to the Underworld and finish her destiny but her daughter resisted in doing so.

Episodes[edit]

PartSeasonEpisodesOriginally released
1110August 17, 2018 (2018-08-17)
210September 20, 2019 (2019-09-20)
3210January 15, 2021 (2021-01-15)
410February 9, 2022 (2022-02-09)

Production[edit]

Promotional poster for the first part of the series

Development[edit]

The series, created by The Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening, was said to "bear his trademark animation style".[3] The series is animated by Rough Draft Studios, the same studio that worked on Futurama.[4] The series was announced in July 2017, with a 20-episode order, along with multiple members of the cast, at which time it had been in the works at Netflix for at least one year.[5] Following the series premiere, in October 2018, Netflix announced that an additional 20 episodes had been ordered for a total of four batches of 10 episodes.[6][7]

Writing[edit]

In July 2017, it was announced that rapper Briggs was part of the writing team for the series.[8] John DiMaggio has described the series as "the offspring of The Simpsons and Game of Thrones."[9] Groening has said the show has a "definite feminist point of view."[10][11] Series showrunner Josh Weinstein said that one of the best parts of writing was building "that gradual unfolding of mysteries, but also the deepening of them. I think season three is the deepening of all the mythology, the questions and the characters." Weinstein also noted that part three of the series was the "middle" and that if Netflix were to renew the series for an additional two-part, 20-episode season beyond the second one, the fourth through sixth parts would be the series' ending.[12] In another interview, Weinstein said that Harry Potter and the works of Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick served as inspiration to some of the series' more fantastical elements.[13]

Casting[edit]

The main characters' actors, Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon, and Eric André, were cast in their roles of Princess Bean, Elfo, and Luci in July 2017, when the series was announced. In addition to the main characters' roles, the other starring voice actors were revealed, including John DiMaggio as King Zøg, Tress MacNeille as Queen Oona and Prince Derek, and Matt Berry as Prince Merkimer.[14] Multiple members of the cast have worked together on other projects created by Matt Groening, including DiMaggio, MacNeille, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, and David Herman, who all voiced main roles in the futuristic science fiction television series Futurama. In July 2018, prior to the series' premiere, the characters voiced by the main members of the cast were revealed.

Tie-ins[edit]

The episode "Dreamland Falls" ties into Groening's other series Futurama, implying that both shows do in fact take place in the same universe. When Luci uses the crystal ball to show moments from before, Philip J. Fry, Bender and Professor Farnsworth can briefly be seen in a time machine. The moment is a reference to the episode "The Late Philip J. Fry" in which the trio travel in a one-way time machine and witness the end and rebirth of the universe, implying that the three were passing through after time restarted.[15][16] In the episodes "Electric Princess," "Steamland Confidential," and "Last Splash," among others, Futurama is referenced multiple times. For instance, a boulevard is named after Farnsworth, there is an homage on one of the buildings, to Planet Express, and various locations within the steampunk city of Steamland reference the show, along with various voice actors from Futurama joining the cast of Disenchantment.[17][18][19] Others have noted that in the episode "Steamland Confidential," the series references the "steamed hams" made by Principal Skinner for Superintendent Chalmers in the April 1996 episode of The Simpsons, titled "22 Short Films About Springfield".[20] In the episode "Beanie Get Your Gun", Zog displays erratic behavior by making a repeating honking noise which matches the opening melody to a song performed by the band King Missile.[21]

Release[edit]

In May 2018, a release date of August 17, 2018, was announced for the first batch of 10 episodes.[22] In May 2019, a release date of September 20, 2019, was announced for the second batch.[23][24][25] After multiple delays from a late 2020 release date, the third part's premiere was finally confirmed for January 15, 2021.[26] The fourth part was released on February 9, 2022.[27][28]

Marketing[edit]

On May 22, 2018, Groening released three teaser images on Reddit.[29] The next day, the premiere date was revealed along with several more images.[22] Before Part 2 was released, Groening created a new comic book company, Bapper Books, which released a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive book, Disenchantment: Untold Tales.[30]

Reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 62% of 89 critic reviews are positive for Part 1, which has an average rating of 6.13/10. The critical consensus reads: "Disenchantment showcases enough of Matt Groening's trademark humor to satisfy fans—although the show's overall familiarity and disappointing willingness to play it safe may not bode well for future seasons."[31] According to Metacritic, which calculated an average of 56 out of 100 based on 28 reviews, Part 1 received "mixed or average reviews".[32] Forbes called the series "charming, unique, and excellent."[33] Ars Technica stated the series starts rocky, but then it gets "bloody good".[34] Entertainment Weekly gave the series a "C" grade, likening it to an extended "Treehouse of Horror" story.[35] Den of Geek gave a more mixed reception of the series, praising the concept, but criticizing some of the jokes.[36] Brian Tallerico from RogerEbert.com wrote the series does not live up to the standards of other Netflix Original animations, but praised its concept and cast, and suggested the series might improve in the future.[37] Reviewing seven of the first season's 10 episodes, Danette Chavez of The A.V. Club gave the series a B−, saying that the strength of the cast made up for weak writing.[38] Upon its initial review, TV Guide gave the series a lukewarm reception. But upon viewing of the last three episodes, the opinion changed, and praised the serialization of the series that paid off in the end.[39] Similarly, Rhuaridh Marr of Metro Weekly called the show disenchanting while saying that it is "as much a treat to look at as it is to listen to" while environments which are "lush and vibrant."[40] At the same time, Ben Travers on IndieWire said the series starts out "rough" but moves into more effective serialized storytelling toward the end of Part 1.[41] Melanie McFarland of Salon.com compared the series to The Simpsons and Futurama, saying the series professes to be feminist, noting that Bean is the embodiment of this, resisting her father's attempts to push her into arranged marriages for political reasons.[42] She also argued that the series doesn't stereotype any ethnic group by having all the characters be painted generically, with Dreamland as a "non-racial patriarchy," with Bean standing up to "charmless men who stand in her way." Even so, McFarland wrote that people should be wary of the feminist framing of the show, arguing that Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons embodied racial stereotypes, and said that the show's creators can't say that the show is feminist until at least 50 percent of the writers are women.

For the second part, Rotten Tomatoes collected 15 reviews and identified 73% as positive, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The critical consensus reads: "As Disenchantment's pieces slowly fall into place it grows deeper in character and world building to become a more fully realized show -- if only those pieces would fall just a little bit faster."[43] Kevin Yeoman of ScreenRant, describing it as a "considerable step forward in terms of storytelling, plotting, [and] character development" and an impressive improvement from Part 1.[44] Joyce Slaton of Common Sense Media, reviewing parts 1 and 2, disliked the cartoon violence, rude jokes, and frequent alcoholism, but praised Bean as a "strong, non-stereotypical character," the non-problematic sexual content, and the beautiful animation, while noting that the language is mild.[45] Slaton also claimed that the humor was "disappointing."

For the third part, Rotten Tomatoes collected 5 reviews and identified 60% as positive. Vikram Murthi of The A.V. Club was critical of Part 3, complaining that he was not satisfied with the episodes of the season, while Neal Justin of the Star Tribune pessimistically told readers to "enjoy it while you can."[46][47] Tony La Vella of Gamerant had a similar view, arguing that the series "feels unfocused", while admitting that the show is "slowly laying the pipework to what could...be a satisfying conclusion."[48] Marcel Schmid, in a German-language publication, described the series as a "lovingly designed series" with nice set design, beautiful background painting, effectively mixes "the Middle Ages with industrialization", engaging in social commentary, and has effective black comedy. Schmid also argued that the series had improved over time and stated that Steamland "offers a good contrast to medieval Dreamland."[49] Additionally, Caitlin Kennedy of Nightmarish Conjurings positively reviewed the series, noting that while in Parts 1 and 2, it has been "immature in the most fun way possible", Part 3 went further, showing "the most growth and more comfortably dabbles in heavier topics in its unfolding epic narrative", and praises the expansion of the story, especially into places like Steamland, the "steampunk and technologically advanced counterpart to Dreamland."[50] Kennedy also argued that Part 3 focused on love, loss, and mental health, while saying she is looking forward to more episodes.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Credited as co-executive producer.
  2. ^ Credited as supervising producer.
  3. ^ a b c Credited as co-producer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Schneider, Michael (July 29, 2018). "'Disenchantment': Meet The Characters Voiced by Abbi Jacobson and Others in Matt Groening's Netflix Dreamland". IndieWire. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Weinstein, Josh [@Joshstrangehill] (September 3, 2018). "Bean's full name is Princess Tiabeanie Mariabeanie de la Rochambeau Grunkwitz, not "Drunkowitz" - she just called herself that while drunk. Grunkwitz is Zøg's family name from the House of Grunkwitz (like House of Windsor or House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)" (Tweet). Retrieved September 4, 2018 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 25, 2017). "Matt Groening Netflix Animated Comedy A Go With 20-Episode Order, Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon & Eric Andre Lead Voice Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  4. ^ Liao, Shannon (July 25, 2017). "Matt Groening is making an animated medieval adult fantasy with Netflix". The Verge. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 25, 2017). "Matt Groening Netflix Animated Comedy A Go With 20-Episode Order, Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon & Eric Andre Lead Voice Cast". Deadline. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  6. ^ Morrison, Matt (December 8, 2019). "What To Expect From Disenchantment Season 3". ScreenRant. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (October 22, 2018). "Disenchantment Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix, Returning in 2019". TVLine. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Moran, Rob (July 27, 2017). "Briggs to be part of the writing team on Matt Groening's new Netflix series". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Shepherd, Jack (May 27, 2018). "Disenchantment: Matt Groening's Netflix series described as lovechild of The Simpsons and Game of Thrones". The Independent. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (July 25, 2017). "Netflix Orders Matt Groening Animated Comedy 'Disenchantment'". Variety. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  11. ^ Hughes, Josiah (August 14, 2018). "'Disenchantment' Sees Matt Groening Living in the Past". Exclaim! Media. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Henderson, Steve (February 10, 2021). "Disenchantment Returns! Interview with Showrunner Josh Weinstein Part One". Skwigly Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on February 10, 2021. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  13. ^ "Disenchantment: Interview with Showrunner Josh Weinstein Part Two". Skwigly Animation Magazine. March 16, 2021. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
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  15. ^ Leadbeater, Alex (August 18, 2018). "Disenchantment Easter Egg Confirms Netflix Show Exists In The Futurama Universe". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
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  18. ^ Lovett, Jamie (September 23, 2019). "Netflix's Disenchantment Season 2 Is Full of Futurama Easter Eggs". Comicbook.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
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  20. ^ Sparks, Astrid (January 19, 2021). "Disenchantment Reveals a Steamy Simpsons Easter Egg". CBR. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  21. ^ None, None (September 16, 2009). "King Missile - Detachable P*nis (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  22. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (May 23, 2018). "Netflix Sets 'Disenchantment' Premiere Date, Unveils First Look At Matt Groening Animated Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Petski, Denise (May 16, 2019). "'Disenchantment' Part Two Gets Premiere Date On Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  24. ^ "Netflix Announces DISENCHANTMENT, a New Epic Fantasy Animated Series from Matt Groening" (Press release). Hollywood, CA. July 25, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  25. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (July 25, 2017). "Abbi Jacobson to Lead Voice Cast for Netflix's Animated Matt Groening Comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  26. ^ Griffin, David (December 16, 2020). "Disenchantment: Part 3 Trailer and Release Date Revealed (EXCLUSIVE)". IGN. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
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  28. ^ Netflix [@NetflixIsAJoke] (January 19, 2022). "Disenchantment: Part 4, streaming February 9th!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on January 19, 2022. Retrieved January 19, 2022 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Groening, Matt (May 22, 2018). "Matt Groening here! Wanted you all in r/netflix to be the first to see what I've been working on…". Reddit. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  30. ^ "Syndicated Comics". www.comicsbeat.com. July 3, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
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  34. ^ Machkovech, Sam (August 7, 2018). "Disenchantment review: Groening's new Netflix toon is off to a bloody good start". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  35. ^ Franich, Darren (August 7, 2018). "Disenchantment is like a never-ending 'Treehouse of Horror' sketch: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 23, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  36. ^ Matar, Joe (August 7, 2018). "Disenchantment Review (Spoiler Free)". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on November 14, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  37. ^ Tallerico, Brian (August 14, 2018). "All-Star Team Of Voice Talent Carries Netflix's Disenchantment". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  38. ^ Chavez, Danette (August 8, 2018). "An Excellent Cast Rescues Fantasy Parody Disenchantment from Mediocrity". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  39. ^ Surette, Tim (August 17, 2018). "Matt Groening's Disenchantment Gets So Much Better as It Goes Along". TV Guide. Archived from the original on August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  40. ^ Marr, Rhuaridh (January 25, 2021). "TV Review: Matt Groening's "Disenchantment" is just plain disenchanting". Metro Weekly. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  41. ^ Travers, Ben (August 25, 2018). "'Disenchantment' Review: Matt Groening's Netflix Debut Starts Rough, But Makes a Surprising About-Face — Spoilers". IndieWire. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  42. ^ McFarland, Melanie (August 16, 2018). ""Disenchantment" and the evolution of Matt Groening's feminism". Salon.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  43. ^ "Disenchantment: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  44. ^ Yeoman, Kevin (August 25, 2018). "Disenchantment Part 2 Review: The Series Finds Its Sense Of Humor & Adventure". ScreenRant. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  45. ^ Slaton, Joyce (March 13, 2020). "Disenchantment TV Review". Common Sense Media. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
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  47. ^ Justin, Neal (January 15, 2021). "The return of 'Disenchantment' and four other shows our TV critic is watching this week". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  48. ^ La Vella, Tony (January 25, 2021). "Why 'Disenchantment' Can't Live Up To The Simpsons Or Futurama". Gamerant. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  49. ^ Schmid, Marcel (January 17, 2021). "Disenchantment: Groening vermischt Mittelalter und Moderne mit Erfolg!" [Disenchantment: Groening mixes the Middle Ages and the modern with success!]. What the Film (in German). Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  50. ^ Kennedy, Caitlin (January 14, 2021). "[Series Review] Disenchantment Part 3". Nightmarish Conjurings. Archived from the original on January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2021.

External links[edit]