Over the Garden Wall – First Impressions

Over the Garden Wall Poster

I’ve seen many strange things, but few are as eerie as Over the Garden Wall.

Over the Garden Wall is based on the animated short Tome of the Unknown, by Patrick McHale. It is the tale of two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who find themselves lost in a strange forest and are trying to find their way back home. While wandering through the forest, they come upon a talking blue jay, Beatrice. Beatrice also has a problem, and is off to see Adelaide of the Forest to see if she can help her. The boys decide that Adelaide might be able to help them get home and join Beatrice on her journey.

Over The Garden Wall
Wirt, Beatrice, Greg, and Greg’s pet frog.

As I said earlier, Over the Garden Wall is strange, but in a good way. It’s obviously influenced by dark fairy tales (for example, the strange woodsman and creepy creatures), but is at times as whimsical as The Wind in the Willows (for example, anthropomorphic animals going to school). This strange concoction reminds me a lot of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, which could go from bright and cheery to unexpectedly dark fairly quickly.

And the dark tone of the story definitely comes across in the animation style and art. The entire show has this sepia look which reminds the audience things are definitely not bright and cheery in this world. And just in case you forgot about the strange things lurking in the shadows, there are plenty of images which are just plain old spooky.

Over the Garden Wall
The world of Over the Garden Wall is not a very happy place.

The backgrounds are very also detailed and look like they are straight out of an illustrated children’s book.

Over the garden wall
This picture would be quite at home on the pages of a children’s book.

As great as the over-all look of this show is, the animation itself isn’t amazing. The animation is perfectly adequate, but it’s just not the kind of show that’s going to have these amazing animated set-pieces to make your jaw drop.

The one thing that does really stand out in this show is the sound. Like many shows with horror elements, many of the creepier scenes in the show are defined by the music. These scenes would be absolutely flat if done badly, but thankfully Cartoon Network clearly has some very talented people working on the show. The show also has many other amazingly talented singers, who often catch you off guard when a character breaks into song. And no, this doesn’t happen often enough for me to think that it’s necessary to classify Over the Garden Wall as a musical.

 

So if you’re a fan of shows like Gravity Falls or Adventure Time, but wanted something with a subtly darker tone, I suggest you check out Over the Garden Wall. You will not be disappointed.

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15 thoughts on “Over the Garden Wall – First Impressions

  1. (Rowan here, only adding this here so people are warned: SPOILER DISCUSSION IN THE COMMENTS BELOW)

    As someone with every episode of Gravity Falls and Adventure time kept in a secret mind closet, i’m so happy i have another awesome cartoon to watch- thankyou for this one!

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    1. No problem. I’m also a fan of both shows, but I prefer Gravity Falls to Adventure Time. I’m not sure if I like some of the darker elements of Adventure Time (I haven’t seen the latest season yet, but I’ve heard some bad stuff happens to Finn).

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      1. Some bad stuff does happen to him, i won’t ruin it for you by telling you just what it is, but it’s a pretty good rollercoaster. What i was surprised with was how much i’m starting to dislike, and have strong suspicions about Princess Bubblegum.. ¬__¬
        I only found Gravity falls a couple of weeks ago, and watched all of them as soon as i could, and loved it all!
        Have you ever watched Clarence or the regular show?

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      2. I’ve seen some episodes of The Regular Show on TV, and I thought it was pretty good. A friend of mine watches it fairly religiously and he loves it so I’ll make a plan at some point to get my hands on the whole show.

        I’ve never heard of Clarence though, I’ll definitely look it up.

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      3. Thanks. I’m reading some of your posts and I see you’re a stop-motion fan. You should check out Mary and Max if you haven’t seen it. It’s AMAZING, but be warned, it’s also very bitter-sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I watched some of ”Over the garden Wall”
        It was so cute! It’s quite.. Scandinavian bedtime story-ish, and reminds me a lot of ‘The Moomins’ in style, but so far i’m loving it- the characters are adorable, and i can see me making some fan figurines of them some time : )

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      5. I finished it over lunch today at work. It’s got quite a few twists (mixed feelings on some of them though).

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      6. Really? I thought it was actually really sad at the end- i don’t know what i thought of the twist that they actually just live in a normal house and they get lost in the realm of weird things… i was expecting them to find their way back to a pretty hut on the outskirts of the woods, so that was a surprise.. i knew that Beatrice wasn’t really a bird before she even said so.
        I do know that in folklore there are places you can wander astray and end up in faerie, but when they were dragged from the pond at the end, it seemed like it was a bit of a dream..
        I just really enjoyed how folk-arty it was, and the massive creepy factor 🙂
        What weren’t you happy with?

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      7. I was actually fine with everything but the whole drowning thing. And I would have preferred if the woodsman didn’t actually find his daughter, at least not straight away. If they ever do another season that could have been a cool path to go down.

        I also really liked the build up. How we find out that they’re actually step brothers, and the story is Wirt learning to take care of his little brother, and the many other subtle themes.

        So yeah, it was great for the most part, just didn’t want to spoil anything which is why I was being vague.

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      8. : ) It’s nice that you didn’t want to spoil it- i didn’t like the drowning bit either, it made it that bit less serious, and i liked the creepy seriousness..
        I don’t think they’re going to do another series which is really sad, because i absolutely adored this miniseries 😦
        I’ll stop talking now, because i don’t really want to spoil it either : )

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      9. Don’t worry. I added a huge spoiler tag to one of your earlier posts.

        I hope they find a way to make another miniseries. Even if it’s a spin-off story like what happened to Beatrice before she met the brothers.

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      10. I loved the brothers- i do think there was too little of Beatrice as a human though.. just the start credits and end scene.
        Even if they just do another series with the same animator it’d be really nice-
        They stopped ”The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack” after just two seasons, and i’ve been sad about it ever since- if that’s not one you’ve seen, it’s a good one to watch : )

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      11. I’ll add it to my list. Not much free time at the moment so it’ll probably take me a while to get to it.

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