When we think of ogres, elves and other species from supernatural folktales, the first thing that comes to mind is probably “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter.” While those two series are cool and well-respected (rightfully so), just like its previous seasons, Netflix’s fourth season of “Disenchantment” is everything fantasy and folklore with an added comedic twist.
Created by Matt Groening, the creator of “Futurama” and “The Simpsons,” this adult animated fantasy series doesn’t really compare in terms of intriguing dialogue, memorable scenes or laugh out loud jokes. Instead, it’s the interesting characters, comedic effort and beautifully designed artwork that make this show at least somewhat worthwhile.
Mostly taking place in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, the show takes us on a journey through the lives of many characters like a rebellious princess named Bean (Abbi Jacobson, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”); her personal demon, Luci (Eric André, “The Righteous Gemstones”); her friend, a half-elf and half-ogre named Elfo (Nat Faxon, “Blaze and the Monster Machines”) and so many more. The fourth season picks up where season three left off, with Bean, Luci and Elfo separated from one another, which allows this season to shine a light on each character’s individual life. Throughout the season, secrets are revealed and fateful events occur, and eventually these three characters reconcile for an adventure through Dreamland. There are even special appearances from God (Phil LaMarr, “The Book of Boba Fett”) and Satan (Rich Fulcher, “Star Trek: Lower Decks”) which demonstrates this show’s capability of illustrating dark comedy and makes it an excellent example of adult animation.
The show accurately evokes a balance between adult humor, reality and fantasy. It doesn’t necessarily go overboard with the fantasy tropes that could completely turn this into a children’s animation. Rather, the content and subjectivity of the show help it accomplish a steady adult fanbase. For instance, the series constantly takes digs at religion with no limits, bouncing between the hysterical and offensive. At other moments, the series offers commentary on themes that adults can relate to, like the relationship between children and parents.
But the downside of this show is that there is simply too much going on. The series spends too much time fitting different storylines in such a small season, to the degree that one 30-minute episode can be a bit overwhelming. Yet, at the same time, there’s no real plot — the series prioritizes bad jokes over actual storytelling.
The season started off great, with the first two episodes maintaining some form of entertainment, but as the season went on, the series slowly began to lose its touch. Granted, the show by no means is a culturally significant commentary like “Futurama” or “The Simpsons,” but it was still disappointing to see the its comparatively lackluster effort in comedy.
The fourth season of this series is mediocre at best. Even though the animation is beautifully done, it’s not enough to distract one from the lack of overarching plot and various missed comedic opportunities. It’s sad to say that this season of “Disenchantment” definitely takes the meaning of its title literally.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at email@example.com.