We’re just days away from finding out whether Matt Groening still has it in him to create a great cartoon.
Five years after Futurama wrapped up, and more than a decade since The Simpsons gave us a consistently good season of TV, Groening’s latest effort is set to hit our screens, with Disenchantment arriving on Netflix come August 17.
The show follows the adventures of Princess Bean, the demon Luci, and the elf Elfo… because apparently, much like Bender the drunken robot, the writer’s room decided you just don’t need to try any harder when it comes to giving a character a name.
According to the Netflix summary, “Princess duties call, but she’d rather be drinking. Free-spirited Bean exasperates the king as she wreaks havoc with her demon and elf pals.”
Bean is to be voiced by Abbi Jacobson of Broad City (go ahead, ‘Yasss Queen’, well done), while Eric Andre is behind Luci and Nat Faxon is Elfo.
In terms of the brains behind the show, Adam Briggs – of hip-hop duo AB Original – will give the show an Aussie vibe, having been recruited as a writer.
Yeah, so is it any good?
Well, thus far it appears the jury – AKA the critics who have had early access to Disenchantment – are still undecided.
According to Entertainment Weekly, “The approach is solid, but the writing just isn’t quite up to snuff. Jokes are rarely outright bad, but they also usually fall well below hilarious.
“It can be hard to pinpoint exactly makes comedy work or not, but it’s possible some of this can be attributed to the length of the episodes affecting the pacing.”
On the other hand, while ARS Technica admitted the show had “rough patches”, their overall takeaway was, “These are characters I want to join for many more adventures, and I’m delighted that Groening and Netflix have joined forces to deliver their antics for some time yet.”
While the (likely irresistible) temptation will be to compare the show to The Simpsons and Futurama, perhaps the true gauge will be not how it stacks up against other Groening productions, but the animated fare already on Netflix.
And with the hilariously foul Big Mouth and BoJack Horseman – which is either the funniest sad show on TV, or the saddest funny show, but heart-wrenchingly brilliant either way – as the new measuring sticks, Disenchantment finds itself in a pretty long shadow.
Maybe we should wait and make our own minds up about how good it is.