Remember the good old days of children’s programming, where parents had every reason in the world to watch a series alongside their kids? That’s not to say we have none of that today- but they are few and far between. These days television is no longer the bonding experience for stay-at-home parents and their children, but rather a bright and loud distraction to keep kids out of the way for a few hours.
But as I mentioned every so often a little ray of sunshine bursts through and gives me a reason to turn to my nostalgic networks. If this were 2008 I’d be writing this about The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack (haven’t seen it? Go watch it, I’ll wait) but sadly that show came to an end after just three seasons.
Luckily there is a new show created by one of Flapjack’s former writers, Alex Hirsch. The series itself centers around twins who are sent to live with their great uncle (who they call Grunkle Stan) in a small town plagued by supernatural and paranormal activity. But some adults aren’t as willing to get into a new kid’s show as I am. My suggestion is to do drugs.
My actual suggestion is to consider the elements that make the show worthwhile.
For starters, the art style is beautiful- particularly the animation in the opening sequence. This is a show with more toned down colours, so when something bright shows up it really pops. There also is a lot of care put in to make individual and intriguing character designs.
The show is also relatable on a lot of levels. The twins, Dipper and Mabel, are in the awkward age of twelve and are represented as being on the cusp of adult and child- with Dipper mainly representing the former and Mabel leaning towards the latter.
The show also features the most fair and accurate representation of teenagers I have seen in a series, particularly for the small town setting. Most intriguing to me is the decision to make Grunkle Stan a shameless con-man. He is depicted as running a tourist trap, counterfeiting money, and hiding arrest warrants.
This is sort of a shocking character choice coming from Disney, but not one I am going to argue with! It is also worth mentioning the most adorable part of the series: the relationship shared between two police officers, which is in a word adorable.
That is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the characters, because to list all the noteworthy appearances would take an article in itself.
One final point I would like to note is all the hidden goodies in the series. This show serves as an introduction to the Fortean, with most plots revolving around discovering creatures or conspiracies. The series itself is filled easter eggs for the observant audience. One of the more obvious is the use of ciphers to decode mysterious messages in the end credits.
There is plenty of symbolism referencing the illuminati and other secret societies.
I did not want to give too much away, but hopefully I have peaked your interest enough to at least give it a look. This show is massively underrated, hilarious, and fascinating. The first series aired in 2012, and although it was renewed for a second series in 2013 it has yet to get an air date. The mystery continues, we must dig deeper…