A team of intergalactic warriors fights to protect the universe, but the combination of three highly trained beings and one quirky young boy leaves the team struggling to overcome the dangerous scenarios that are put in front of them.
Hilda follows the adventures of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants, to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she ... See full summary »
Intergalactic warrior Star Butterfly arrives on Earth to live with the Diaz family. She continues to battle villains throughout the universe and high school, mainly to protect her extremely powerful wand, an object that still confuses her.
A Cartoon Network gem, one of their best in a long time
Cartoon Network were responsible for some really fantastic childhood-favourite(that still hold up) shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog and The Powerpuff Girls, but have over the years gone downhill. Not completely because the first three Ben 10 shows, Regular Show and Adventure Time are good, Young Justice is great and Amazing World of Gumball has a few weak spots and several good ones, but Johnny Test, Uncle Grandpa and Ben 10: Omniverse are three of the Network's worst and sadly are two of the shows that are on often on daytime TV.
And then here comes the 10-part mini-series Over the Garden Wall, and while it's not one of Cartoon Network's all-time greatest it is a gem of a show and one of their best in a long time. It's really beautifully animated, with the handsome and very smoothly detailed backgrounds coming off particularly strongly and the mystery of The Unknown setting is realised brilliantly. Think Adventure Time but with more detail, darkness, sweetness and colour. As well as being good-looking animation, what the animation also does so brilliantly is two things, one being that it sets the melancholic but sweet folksy atmosphere of the stories very effectively and maintains that quality consistently and the other being how well it transports one to another world completely and draws one into the world to utter transfixing effect.
The series throughout is very charmingly and hauntingly scored, having a real presence while also allowing the atmosphere to speak, which it wouldn't have done as effectively if the scoring was louder, brasher and more constant, the stories was I feel going to benefit from having a more melancholic, lilting and sometimes sparse approach to the music, and the music in Over the Garden Wall is exactly that. The main theme is very memorable too. The very unique stories are paced perfectly; feeling swift but never rushed and gentle while never dragging, and are very imaginatively and compellingly told even when episodic in nature(and with a couple of random spots like the end of the third episode). While the series always did get off to a strong start, it kept getting stronger until by episode 4 the quality was better than anything that Cartoon Network has been airing in recent years and came close to rivalling the Network at its best. Like with the animation, the atmosphere is melancholic, quirky and folksy, these qualities coming over in a gentle and very touching way and never getting silly or confusing, the series also gets dark with characters like The Beast but in a creepy way rather than traumatising.
Over the Garden Wall succeeds wonderfully in the writing department too. It's funny, suspenseful and remarkably poignant, but it's not just that these qualities are present; it's also how they're balanced and written that made the writing strong. The humour never felt juvenile or too much, in fact especially with Greg(who has at least 3 funny moments an episode) some of the writing is adorable and at its best hilarious, the numerous emotional moments which can be primarily found in the characterisation of Wirt don't make the mistake of dragging the stories down and really succeed in allowing one to relate to Wirt and his troubles and the suspense is nail-biting but should not unsettle younger viewers too much. All this without one of them over-powering the other, this easily could have had too much humour of the wrong kind jarring with the atmosphere or been too scary, but I didn't find that to be the case with Over the Garden Wall. The characters are very well written, looking like and having the personalities of folk fairy tale figures. The protagonists are very easy to relate to, especially Wirt and it is easy to be endeared by the resourcefulness and cute optimism of Greg. The Beast is a very memorable main villain with a suitably scary appearance, and Beatrice, Woodsman, Auntie Whispers, Adelaide, Endicott et al make good impressions within their stories.
The voice work is excellent from all involved; there are some truly talented names here and they don't disappoint and have strong material to work from. Elijah Wood's Wirt is very deeply felt and Colin Dean's chirpy enthusiasm contrasts most endearingly. Melanie Lynksey brings plenty of sass to Beatrice, John Cleese and Christopher Lloyd voice with sympathy and demeanour, Tim Curry has been better(understandably as apparently this was post-stroke voice work) but is effectively grotesque, Deborah Voigt is sympathetically mysterious and Samuel Ramey is devilishly creepy as the Beast. The series ends on a perfect note, feeling complete.
Overall, a Cartoon Network gem, and one of their best in a long time. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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