Review: 'Disenchantment', Audiences left with mixed feelings

John Alexander Nunnery

 “Disenchantment” is a new show that premiered on Netflix on Aug. 17, 2018. It is the third animated show created by Matt Groening. His previous work includes the titles of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.” Taking place in Medieval times, “Disenchantment” takes a drastic turn away from Groening’s other work. The show is intended to be a parody of the fantasy genre. To many fans, the show has a lot to live up to because of the quality of his previous work.

“Disenchantment” takes place in the kingdom of Dreamland and stars Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson), Luci (Eric Andre), Bean’s personal demon sent to her by a mysterious cult and Elfo (Nat Faxon),  an elf companion. The story revolves around Bean’s rejection of her royal status. She wants to live her own life instead of it being dictated by her overbearing father, King Zøg (John DiMaggio).

Bean is forced into an arranged marriage to keep the peace between Dreamland and a warring nation. This does not sit well with her. During the wedding, she accidentally maims her groom. Despite this, all is forgotten when the magical Elfo wanders into the ceremony and chaos ensues. This allows Bean, Luci and Elfo to escape the ceremony. This sets the story in motion. “Disenchantment” has an overarching narrative storyline that is carried through most episodes of the show.

“Disenchantment” has many elements that can be found in all of Groening’s previous work — alcoholism, fun animation and an acute sense of humor. The voice acting is high quality and helps carry the show. Meanwhile, the background animation offers fast paced visual gags that bring “Disenchantment” to life. However, this doesn’t eliminate all of “Disenchantment’s” problems.

The first few episodes of the show are awkwardly paced. This makes the comedy hard to enjoy. Some of the main characters feel under-utilized in most of the early episodes. This makes connecting with the characters hard. “Disenchantment” finds a rhythm near episode four and goes up from there. The comedy hits well, all of the characters are utilized at this point and the plots are more fun and creative.

Overall, “Disenchantment” is not going to be a show for everyone. It is heavily centered on being a parody of fantasy shows and movies. It is geared toward an audience who enjoys that genre. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in medieval fantasy, Groening’s previous work or has been curious about “Disenchantment” itself. The show has immense potential and could eventually become as successful as “Futurama” and “The Simpsons.”