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