Disenchantment is an American adult animated fantasy created by Matt Groening for Netflix. The series is Groening’s first production to appear exclusively on a streaming service; he previously created The Simpsons and Futurama for Fox. Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, the series follows the story of Bean, a rebellious and alcoholic princess, her naïve elf companion Elfo, and her destructive “personal demon” Luci.
Disenchantment is an animated sitcom created by the renowned television producer and animator, Matt Groening. Unlike his previous works, The Simpsons and Futurama, which were traditional sitcoms, Disenchantment takes a unique approach by combining elements of medieval fantasy with dark humor. The series follows the adventures of Princess Bean, a rebellious and alcoholic princess, along with her companions, the naive elf Elfo and the mischievous “personal demon” Luci. Together, they navigate the kingdom of Dreamland and unravel a mythical conspiracy. With its distinctive animation style and witty storytelling, Disenchantment has gained a loyal fanbase and received critical acclaim.
Premise: A Medieval Fantasy Kingdom
Set in the fictional kingdom of Dreamland, Disenchantment transports viewers to a medieval European-inspired world. The series delves into the story of Princess Bean, a 19-year-old princess who defies the expectations of her royal upbringing. Bean’s character is complex, as she grapples with the privileges and pressures of her position while seeking personal fulfillment. Accompanying her on her adventures are Elfo, an optimistic and adventure-hungry elf, and Luci, a demon who often finds himself mistaken as a cat. Together, they embark on a journey that uncovers the secrets and mysteries of Dreamland.
Voice Cast and Characters
The talented voice cast brings the characters of Disenchantment to life with their unique performances. Abbi Jacobson lends her voice to Princess Bean, infusing the character with a rebellious spirit and emotional depth. Eric Andre portrays Luci, Bean’s personal demon, bringing a mischievous yet endearing quality to the character. Nat Faxon voices Elfo, the optimistic and adventurous half-elf who becomes Bean’s loyal companion. Other notable cast members include John DiMaggio as King Zøg, Tress MacNeille as Queen Oona, and Matt Berry as Prince Merkimer. Each actor adds nuance and personality to their respective characters, creating a captivating ensemble.
Episodes: A Serialized Storytelling Approach
Disenchantment is structured as a serialized narrative, deviating from the traditional episodic format of sitcoms. The series is divided into parts, with each part consisting of ten episodes. So far, four parts have been released, totaling 40 episodes. The first part premiered in August 2018, followed by subsequent parts in September 2019, January 2021, and February 2022. The fifth and final part is scheduled for release on September 1, 2023. This serialized approach allows for a more in-depth exploration of the characters and their story arcs, creating a sense of continuity and progression throughout the series.
Production: Matt Groening’s Vision
As the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, Matt Groening brings his distinctive animation style and storytelling sensibilities to Disenchantment. The series is animated by Rough Draft Studios, the same studio responsible for Futurama, ensuring continuity in the animation quality. Disenchantment marks Groening’s first venture into creating a show exclusively for a streaming service, with Netflix serving as the platform for its release. Groening’s fascination with fantasy and his desire to explore new narrative possibilities led to the creation of Disenchantment, a departure from the traditional sitcom formula.
Writing: From Sitcom to Serialized Story
The writing of Disenchantment showcases Matt Groening’s ambition to create a more serialized and character-driven story compared to his previous sitcoms. The series gradually reveals the complexities of its characters and their relationships, delving into deeper emotional conflicts. Princess Bean’s journey, in particular, undergoes significant development throughout the series, as she navigates her own personal growth while facing the challenges of ruling Dreamland. The writing team, which includes rapper Adam Briggs, infuses the show with a mix of humor, tenderness, and meaningful emotional conflicts, creating a unique blend of comedy and storytelling.
Character Development: The Journey of Princess Bean
One of the standout characters in Disenchantment is Princess Bean, brilliantly voiced by Abbi Jacobson. Bean’s character arc is marked by her rebellious nature and the internal conflict she faces as she tries to find her place in the world. Initially portrayed as a rebellious and alcoholic princess, Bean’s journey evolves as she discovers her magical powers and uncovers the truth about her family’s history. Throughout the series, Bean’s growth as a character is palpable, with her emotional struggles, personal breakthroughs, and self-discovery driving the narrative forward. Abbi Jacobson’s nuanced performance brings depth and relatability to Bean’s character, making her a compelling protagonist.
World Building: From Dreamland to Other Realms
Disenchantment takes viewers on a visually stunning journey through various landscapes and realms. The world-building in the series is intricate and imaginative, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources while adding its own unique twist. From the medieval-inspired kingdom of Dreamland to the underwater realm of mermaids, each location is meticulously designed to immerse viewers in a rich and vibrant universe. The show explores the history and conflicts between different peoples, creating a dynamic and captivating backdrop for the characters’ adventures.
Reception: A Blend of Goofiness and Emotional Depth
Disenchantment has received positive reviews from both critics and audiences alike. The show’s ability to balance comedy with meaningful emotional conflicts has been widely praised. While the series starts off with a goofier tone, it gradually evolves into a more emotionally resonant and tender experience. The character development, particularly that of Princess Bean and King Zøg, has been lauded for its believability and depth. The intricate world-building and clever storytelling have also been commended, as Disenchantment weaves together humor, fantasy, and emotional resonance in a way that sets it apart from other animated sitcoms.
Disenchantment: The Unique Blend of Fantasy and Comedy
Disenchantment showcases Matt Groening’s ability to create a distinctive animated series that combines elements of fantasy, comedy, and character-driven storytelling. The show’s serialized format allows for a more immersive and in-depth exploration of its characters and their journeys. With its talented voice cast, intricate world-building, and the perfect blend of humor and emotional depth, Disenchantment has carved out its own niche in the animated sitcom genre. As the final part of the series approaches, fans eagerly anticipate the conclusion of Princess Bean’s story and the resolution of the mythical conspiracy that has captivated audiences since the show’s inception.
September 1, 2023
Where to Watch Disenchantment
Description: Set in a ruined medieval city called Dreamland, Disenchantment follows the grubby adventures of a hard-drinking princess, her feisty elf companion and her personal demon.
Country: United States
Writer(s): Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Reid Harrison, David X. Cohen, Rich Fulcher, Jeff Rowe, Eric Horsted, Jeny Batten, M. Dickson, Patric M. Verrone, Shion Takeuchi, Bill Oakley
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Companies: The ULULU Company, Netflix, The Curiosity Company