The Hollow is an intriguing 10 episode animated Netflix series predominantly tailored toward the teen and young adult market. The three teens in the driving seat of the series have good chemistry and develop well across the various adventures and encounters they find themselves mixed up in. An ending that’s sure to polarize a lot of people and a really simplistic art style does hold this one back from being a more memorable venture but The Hollow has enough going for it to make it one of the better animated entries Netflix have released recently.
The story begins immediately with 3 teenagers awakening inside a square room with nothing but a typewriter for company. Kai (Connor Parnall) plays the incredulous, dumb teen, Mira (Ashleigh Ball) the level-headed female and Adam (Adrian Petriw) takes up the mantle as the leader of the trio. What follows are a series of challenges, puzzles and colourful enemies that test the limits of the teens as they’re forced to work together to figure out where they are and how to escape back to their own world. The 10 episodes are fast paced, with plenty of action, twists and mystery to keep the story moving along to its climactic finale. Each of the episodes do well to stand alone on their own merit but feed into the overarching plot line by constantly moving toward trying to escape from wherever they are. It’s worth mentioning here too that the ending is sure to garner quite a few mixed reactions. As a show tailored toward young adults the ending isn’t quite as bad as others may make it out to be and the twist is certainly a clever one, despite the slight clichéd nature of its execution.
A touch of humour is used throughout the series too, with a good mix of slapstick and puns. As a father, the latter is very much appreciated and certainly emanated some chuckles from this reviewer but in terms of the bigger picture, The Hollow is much better balanced with the inclusion of the comedy, avoiding it falling into a melodramatic slog. There’s a fair amount of action here too and most of it is shot well, making good use of the fantastical landscape by introducing all manner of creatures and different settings. Expect ogres, orcs, ice demons and more in this concoction of visual splendour. The art style does let the series down slightly; large black lines around each of the character models coupled with a single shade of colour for shadows gives the series a bit of a simplistic feel. The animations are generally drawn well though and the action moves along at such a frenetic pace that it’s easy to look past the limitations with the visuals
Thematically, the series is surprisingly thought provocative too, touching on topics like life and death, acceptance and believing in yourself. The way in which these are explored make this a difficult one to recommend for any child under the age of 9 or so but is certainly recommended to try for young adults. Toward the end of the series the question of where the three characters are is brought to light and with it, a change in the complexion of the show as the 3 teenagers find themselves utilising their abilities and plugging away toward the finale that does well to up the stakes and combine everything the teens have faced before for one last battle.
The Hollow is a quick paced, animated series geared toward young adults and teens, combining silly humour with a whole host of action set pieces. The perfectly balanced tone between the two helps get us accustomed to the characters who are all distinct and have good chemistry together throughout the series. The simplistic art style and polarizing ending do hold The Hollow back from being a better animated venture but there’s no denying that the charm and quick pace of The Hollow make this a worthy animated title to check out. What The Hollow lacks in compelling art, it makes up for with a cohesive story and good bursts of action, making this one of the better animated family series on Netflix right now.