Plot: Bean is a princess in Dreamland, but she doesn’t embrace the typical princess lifestyle and opts for a more colorful, less dignified existence. She loves to drink as much as possible and get into trouble of all kinds, but she has little interest in the losers her father King Zog tries to pawn her off on. She has a new friend named Luci, who is often mistaken for a weird cat, but is in fact a demon who seeks to lure Bean into whatever dark deeds he can manage. Bean also befriends another new arrival in Dreamland, an elf named Elfo who left behind the mirth and merriment of his people to pursue depression and a less optimistic lifestyle. As the three engage in various activities from bloodletting to trying to reanimate the dead to throwing parties with vikings, will any of them find the missing piece they seek in their lives?
Entertainment Value: Disenchantment is an interesting series, as it takes the visuals and humor found in Futurama, then welds those elements onto a more linear, narrative driven approach. While most animated shows have some recurring threads to connect the episodes, most of the stories are self contained and have little to no impact on the rest of the larger narrative. But Disenchantment stays focused on the main plot and the episodes are much less self contained, so the emphasis on development is much higher than most shows of this kind. This shift allows for more connective threads and a richer overall story depth, but I am sure some viewers will miss the sillier, filler type episodes most shows involve. In other words, you can skip entire seasons of The Simpsons and not feel lost, but Disenchantment is the kind of series you need to watch in order, though the plot isn’t all that complex, of course. I appreciated this change in approach, as it makes this show feel much different than its peers, but it is a trade off, as I think the replay value won’t be as high with this one.
This first part of Disenchantment collects ten episodes and none are filler, each one has sizable chunks of exposition needed for the larger narratives, while side threads are minor and not a real focus. A lot is going on, but it unfolds in ways that support the big picture, so even the smallest of side stories seems important, though not all are revealed in these first ten episodes, obviously. Another shift for this series is the pace, as the humor isn’t rapid fire, joke after joke like Futurama, but a much more deliberate kind of approach. I’ve seen complaints that the show is slow, but this is more of an attention span issue than anything else. The pace allows for the added character and narrative focus, but never feels slow and while the humor isn’t mile a minute, between the dialogue and visual cues, there’s always some kind of jokes being told. The visuals are similar to The Simpsons and Futurama in terms of character designs, so it feels familiar, but also has a different vibe in some ways. The cel shaded background elements make it stand out and while I would say the animation isn’t as polished, it looks quite cool and is fun to watch. So while this does make some marked shifts in approach, Disenchanted should appeal to those who appreciate the kind of humor found in animated shows of this kind.