Chapter 1: The Old Grist Mill
Chapter 2: Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee
Chapter 3: Schooltown Follies
Chapter 4: Songs of the Dark Lantern
Chapter 5: Mad Love
Chapter 6: Lullaby in Frogland
Chapter 7: The Ringing of the Bell
Chapter 8: Babes in the Woods
Chapter 9: Into the Unknown
Chapter 10: The Unknown
Over The Garden Wall is everything you’d want in an animated fantasy series. It’s incredibly rare nowadays to find a TV series that’s gets the balance right between being accessible for kids and enjoyable as adults but somehow Over The Garden Wall manages to nail this perfectly. Some positive themes including the idea of never giving up, the importance of family and not judging a book by it’s cover are really well worked into the story. The uniquely presented aesthetic helps too and with a tiny dab of adult humour thrown in, make this an animated series well worth checking out.
The story begins with brothers Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) wandering through the vast woodland trying to find a way back home. On their way back they uncover numerous colourful characters including bluebird Beatrice (Melanie Lynskey) who accompanies the boys on their travels and chirps in with numerous humorous observations and advice for the brothers. Each chapter works as a stand-alone episode, exploring a different theme or problem the boys must overcome in order to continue on their way. There’s a loose overarching story involving a menacing forest dweller ominously called “The Beast” as it stalks the brothers through the woods but most of the content here focuses solely on the individual episodic content.
The dialogue is on point throughout the series and a mixture of witty, humorous exchanges between the characters keeps the tone lighthearted despite the grim surroundings the brothers find themselves in. The voice acting is excellent too and the talents of Elijah Woods and Collin Dean have a great chemistry together, making you really feel these two are brothers. From dancing pumpkins to a house full of all manner of creatures, Over The Garden Wall boasts an imaginative collection of creatures both big and small to bolster out its short but action-packed episodes.
Upon first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking Over The Garden Wall’s short run time and 10 minute episodes would feel overly rushed and under-develop the characters but the bite-size episodes perfectly suit the series. Both boys are given enough screen time to develop their relationship, each of the supporting characters are given their own little character arcs and aside from the final 5 minutes which do feel a little rushed in order to tie up all the loose ends, Over The Garden Wall never outstays its welcome and leaves a lasting impression when the credits do eventually roll.
Cartoon Network have always delivered the goods in the past, especially with shows like Dexter’s Laboratory and Johnny Bravo, but questions have been asked whether they can still deliver the goods. Over The Garden Wall is the perfect answer to silence the critics. This maturely written, accessible animation is a real breath of fresh air, delivering a well paced story with a touch of adult humour to keep it entertaining for adults. If you’re looking for a charming animated series with a good blend of fantasy, humour and story, Over The Garden Wall is the perfect series to check out.
Verdict - 9/10