Season 1, Episode 2
The new Netflix series by Matt Groening titled Disenchantment has two behemoth shadows towering over it. Not only will it inevitably be compared to the beloved series Futurama, but then there is also that somewhat successful animated show called The Simpsons. You know, the longest-running primetime scripted series ever. With all that talent comes a lot of expectations. So it should come as no surprise that the first two episodes of Enchantment were a lot of fun and had great characters, but it still lacked the heart of Groening’s previous two creations - for now.
Episode two opens with Princess Bean, Elfo, and Luci falling off a cliff while trying to escape her husband to be. Not all the gags land, but it’s almost always entertaining. The fantasy world that has been created borrows from a lot of sources but never feels like a parody or satire. It is its own journey and its own world. To jump ahead a bit, I was hoping to see Bean and gang explore the forest, but both episodes stick close to the Kingdom and the oafish king who wants to marry off his daughter for financial reasons. Prince Merkimer’s run of bad luck with animals was the funniest part of this episode, but Luci has some great one-liners that got me to bust out laughing. I also can’t help be reminded of the Fry and Leela relationship when it comes to Elfo’s infatuation with the princess. It feels like a slow burn romance which is a great way to go about it.
The animation has that classic Groening look to it. I see a mix of Futurama, The Simpsons, and a little of something new. Some great character designs, with Luci being one of the weirder ones. He looks like something out of Adventure Time.
I thought the voice acting in this series has been fantastic. Abbi Jacobson voices a very likable main character in Princess Bean, while Nat Faxon’s naive Elfo has some sweet and funny moments that will get plenty of smiles from people. I can see them becoming popular characters, and not just because the elf shares a resemblance to Bart Simpson. I did not know Luci was voiced by Eric Andre before watching. He works best when he plays off the other characters, and he does it very well. John DiMaggio and Billy West really help round out this wonderful cast.
As previously stated, not every joke lands and I don’t yet feel a connection to these characters which is something Matt Groening cartoons seem to do quite well, but there is a lot of potential. There were some great parts, and I liked that it didn’t worry about being a commentary on other fantasy franchises in popular media like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. We aren’t barraged by references and cutaway gags, and that works toward Enchantments benefit. Because what I did like, I really liked and it makes me want to come back for more. The show stands on its own, and it brings something different to the table, and I’m excited about the possibilities.