13 April 2015 | milograham123
A beautiful and harrowing Fairytale
"Over the Garden Wall" is a Cartoon Network miniseries that was shown on TV in the November of 2014. It is a beautifully crafted tale of friendship , love and courage that follows the adventures of Wirt and his brother Gregory as they attempt to travel home in the mysterious world , " the unknown". The series as a whole is a perfect blend of light hearted comedy and dark, creepy setting. For one thing the comedy and jokes are actually funny, hilarious at some points very reminiscent of the weird humor of adventure time ( I will touch on that later), this comes as no surprise as writer, story boarder and creator Patrick McHale worked with Pendelton Ward in the first two, arguably best, series of adventure time . Wards craft and love of character has clearly rubbed off on McHale who here creates a series so supremely beautiful and touching , there really hasn't been anything like it before in the world of cartoons . The characters for one are extremely likable and memorable all throughout , Wirt representing the cynical teenager ( without overdoing the cliché) and his little step brother Gregory is wonderfully memorable and funny throughout , if you have a younger sibling I guarantee you will find similarities . To be honest I feel the plot of the series is best to let you discover as it feels to me like true magic watching it, bringing me back to my childhood whilst still feeling like an complex show. Now to the craftmanship of the show, the title cards at the start of each episode add to the literary narrative reminiscent of the best silent films shown on old grainy, projected screens in an old cinema . Credit should go to art directors Nick Cross and Nate Cash as the series subtley blends from beautiful colour in the lighter scenes to pitch black terror in the darker ones invoking a sense of fear and dread inside us all. The music also deserves a special mention , written by McHale and performed by " The Petrojvic blasting company", a gypsy folk band . The score is elegant and delightful invoking nostalgia as well as adding to the mystery and whimsical comedy of each chapter . The setting of the unknown is hauntingly beautiful and surreal ranging from fantastical colour backgrounds to dark, murky forest reminiscent of Snow White . Each chapter invokes a different aesthetic , for instance the whimsical episode, " Schooltime follies " brings into mind the work of children's illustrator Richard Scarry in the style of the animals , whereas the episode , "Songs of the Dark lantern " brings into mind the everlasting animation of Max Fleischer . The series as a whole seems to be inspired by a whole lot of classic and fantastic things , for instance the world , "the unknown" seems to be a beautiful mix of Walt Disneys Snow White and Miyazakis Prince Monokoke . Two animation pioneers , the steamboat in chapter 3 is a not so subtle reference to Disney . Similarly the old witch " Lady Whispers" could be taken directly out of " Spirited Away" .The miniseries as a whole reminded me of a stronger , more fleshed out version of the classic Adventure time Episode "Finn the Human" in terms of the characters and animation style . This work of art fits in perfectly with the new wave of seeming "adult shows" from Cartoon Network, with adult back stories yet all the traits of a fantastic kids show. The ending is a heartbreaking one that is best left unspoiled . The miniseries as a whole shows a deft range of emotional anguish and is overall the story of two brothers , demonstrating the power of friendship always shines through . Overall the series is a haunting fairy tale for our generation similar to the brothers Grimm in that two children get lost in a terrifying, fantastical world , and like any good fairy tale this one runs it's course perfectly. Overall this beautiful crafted blend of Disney and Miyazaki is a gem not to be dismissed as "Just a kids show".