TV Review: Over The Garden Wall (2014)


From the mind of Patrick McHale (writer of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, creative director of Adventure Time) comes Over the Garden Wall, a 10 episode miniseries which tell the story of Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Gregory (Collin Dean), two brothers who are trying to find their way home, with the help of a talking Bluebird named Beatrice. Also stalking the large forest and surrounding areas, is The Woodsman (voiced by Christopher Lloyd), and a terrifying monster, known only as The Beast, both of whom have a few dark secrets of their own.

+ the brothers, Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Gregory (Collin Dean) are compelling, each with their own personalities and faults. Wirt is very protective of his younger step-brother, but gets annoyed as any of us do with younger siblings. Greg is innocent and naive to the world, but his good intentions are always enough to put a smile on your face
+ Beatrice, the bluebird (Melanie Lynskey) and The Woodsman (Christopher Lloyd) are the most important of the supporting characters, and each help the plot move along smoothly. Each have their own motivations for helping the lost brothers, and as these become obvious
+ supporting characters from each of the ten episodes (with voice actors including John Cleese, Tim Curry and Chris Isaak, to name but a few) are often incredibly enjoyable (whether that is for being cute, funny or downright terrifying)
+ the art style is incredibly detailed, with the backgrounds looking like paintings, and the characters somewhere between classic cartoons and more modern Adventure Time-esque proportions
+ the mood of the series is legitimately unnerving at times, which is impressive for ten-ish minute episodes of a cartoon to pull off. A few twists and turns in the story keep things interesting, but it is when things get strange and scary that the show really finds it’s groove. Some great foreshadowing int he first few episodes makes a repeat viewing even more enjoyable
+ a soundtrack of catchy songs makes for some great listening, even when these songs are just describing a combination of different foods (you’ll know it when you hear it, it’s been in my head for weeks)

> I cannot stress enough how scary some scenes are. Not suitable for younger viewers? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it is certainly not your average cartoon horrors.

Should you watch this show: Definitely. Ten short episodes are exactly the right amount for this show to leave you wanting more, but happy there won’t be any more. The characters are easy to relate to, and easy to understand, and the twists and turns of the story make it difficult to watch just a few episodes at a time. Do yourself a favour and set aside just under two hours to watch this in it’s entirety.

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