I haven’t been watching much these days apart from Rings of Power, but this week I stumbled upon a delightful animated series called Over the Garden Wall. It’s a 10-part miniseries following two boys, Greg and Wirt, who are lost in the woods and the many quirky characters and adventures they encounter on their journey home. The story has a delightful New England-autumn aesthetic and a lot of nods to classic stories like old-school Disney, the Wizard of Oz, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I also spotted some Studio Ghibli influence. It’s spooky in a Legend-of-Sleepy-Hollow way and made me feel a bit nostalgic, even though I’d never heard of this before. The script is surprisingly good, with plenty of LOL moments and dry humor as well.
I think my favorite chapter was “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee,” which takes a few creepy turns without losing its charm!
Is it is a good show for kids? I would say OTGW is more appropriate for young teens and up. There are moments of moral ambiguity and unkind words exchanged (mostly from the grumpy bird character, Beatrice). The episodes are pretty low-key, but one episode in particular (“The Ringing of the Bell”) was quite scary even for this 20-something. The supernatural elements are mostly handled well, from one Christian’s perspective, but there are one or two points that some may find problematic. Overall… I do think it’s fine for older kids, and I appreciated the wholesome conclusions to the mysteries. As far as the sibling dynamics, Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) is a very good older brother who demonstrates nearly endless patience with the antics of little Greg. 😉
The first episode is free on YouTube for those curious, and I watched the rest of it on HBO Max.