Written by Ben Casey. Media by Bekah Dothager.
It’s been a little over a year since the artistic television miniseries Over the Garden Wall premiered on Cartoon Network. Created by Patrick McHale, the series is an absolutely gorgeous and unique blend of suspense, horror, and subtle humor.
For the uninitiated, the show follows brothers Wirt, voiced by Elijah Wood, and Greg, voiced by Dean Collin. The series opens with the boys suddenly finding themselves lost in the woods. It is soon revealed that they need much more than simple directions to get back home, as they are lost in the mysterious Unknown and are being tracked by a shadowy figure only known as The Beast.
Without revealing too much about the plot of the show, the rest of the series goes on to show the boys trying to make their way home as well as showing flashbacks that hint on how they ended up in the Unknown in the first place.
One great aspect of the series is that not everything is just explained. Aspects of the land are left, well, unknown. There is some strange connection between the Beast and some recurring black turtles as well as the unknown nature of the Beast himself, who is only ever seen as a distant shadow. The fact that the world does not feel the need to explain itself and lets the viewer fill in their own blanks gives the series a staying power not often present in animation. And that’s saying a lot for a series that’s only ten episodes long after the pilot.
Another thing that really sets the series apart from the many animated series around it is the music. The music on the show is some of my favorite I’ve ever heard. On many occasions, it is performed and written by the voice actors playing the characters. The theme song only plays in full at the beginning of the first episode and the end of the last. It encapsulates the tone of the show perfectly, succinctly summing up what the show is without explaining itself too much. It’s poetic, beautiful, and with purpose. Other songs in the series such as “Patient is the Night” and “Over the Garden Wall” follow the same pattern. You can find the whole soundtrack on Youtube.
The series’ childish humor and brave approach of adult concepts such as love, death, loss, and betrayal make it enjoyable for all ages and explain how it went on to win two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for creator Nick Cross.
This show is absolutely perfect for any fans of the quirky, clever style of Adventure Time and even for those who don’t give it a try. It is only 10 episodes- what have you got to lose other than an hour or two?
You can watch the series online on Hulu or watch the first five episodes in full on Cartoon Network’s website.
So why not, just for a few hours, get lost in the Unknown?