This is TV review 1 & is part of Halloween Week
With Halloween almost here, I thought we’d kickoff my first ever TV review with Cartoon Network’s Over The Garden Wall. This is the network’s first mini-series and originally aired in 2014. Let’s venture into the unknown and see just what is over the garden wall.
Over The Garden Wall has a fairly small main cast. There is Writ, Greg, and Beatrice. The rest are supporting cast or one-off characters that appear in their given episode(s). Having a small cast works well for Over The Garden Wall since its focus is largely on the relationship between Writ and his half-brother Greg.
The most notable characters outside of the main three are The Woodsmen and The Beast. Both characters drive a lot of the overarching plot, but don’t overshadow the more episodic nature of Writ, Greg, and Beatrices’ adventures.
All of the characters throughout Over The Garden Wall are unique and memorable. For a 10 episode run, and the vast amount of side characters that there actually are, this is an impressive feat. The characters breathe a lot of life into the portrayed world and story.
Over The Garden Wall follows half-brothers Writ and Greg as they accidently fall over a wall into the “unknown” (hence the title). In the unknown they encounter a vast array of characters, some friendly, some hostile, as they attempt to find their way back home. Along the way they get help from Beatrice, a blue bird, and some other quirky characters as they learn about themselves and each other.
The story is presented in an episodic fashion with an overarching plot. Each of the 10 episodes has its own unique plot line (for the most part) that ties into the overall story. These individual plots range from grim to silly but never loose the overall atmosphere the show portrays.
As for the plot as a whole, the group aim to avoid The Beast as they attempt to return home. This plot is generally darker and is meant to highlight the themes of self-identity, the transition from childhood to adulthood, and self-acceptance. Considering the target audience, these themes and concepts are appropriate without being too much.
Despite airing on the Cartoon Network channel, the show was designed to be a family experience. Though it may be a bit spooky for a very young audience, I agree that this can be enjoyed by basically anybody. There’s a reason the show has won 2 awards after all. I personally feel that it’s best enjoyed by an older audience (16+) so that the presentation can be fully appreciated, but the story is not so complex that basic elements couldn’t be understood by even small children.
Animation & Sound
The art style for this show is incredible. The animation ends up being a mix of 19th century illustrations, older children’s books, and a plethora of other influences. This gave the show an extremely unique feeling and added to its feeling of uneasiness without being overly scary.
Music for Over The Garden Wall was also handled in an interesting way. The music pulls, not dissimilarly, from several styles and is unique in that aspect. However, what adds to this is that there are moments in the series that turn into what is almost a musical. These elements coupled together, offer what I wouldn’t call on its own an original presentation, but due to the styles and variety of them, it ends up feeling like a fresh interpretation of what seems to be a more common occurrence.
The voice acting is all done well. This goes for both the main cast and the supporting cast. Elijah Wood (Writ), Collin Dean (Greg), and Melanie Lynskey (Beatrice) all make for an excellent main cast. There are some fun cameo roles too, such as Tim Curry as Auntie Whispers, which can be fun for the viewer to try and listen for.
Final Thoughts & Where To Buy
If you couldn’t tell, I think this series is fantastic. Patrick McHale (creator of Flapjack) did a fantastic job directing Over The Garden Wall. I highly encourage anyone to check this short series out. This is especially true with Halloween right around the corner, since the story takes place during the Halloween season. It’s great for families and can be enjoyed alone. I seriously can’t do the show justice in how great it is, so seriously, check it out.
With that being said, Over The Garden Wall can be viewed in part on Cartoon Network’s website here. If you enjoy it and want to purchase it, you can find it at amazon.com on DVD for $9.19 or digitally for slightly more. Enough of me talking, go give it a try and buy it if you enjoyed it, supporting cool content like this means more interesting shows such as this can be made in the future.
Did you enjoy this show as much as I did? Let myself and others know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article leave a like and consider following me here, via email subscription, Facebook, or Twitter @JS_Reviews.