This does not look like your typical fairytale adventure.
Netflix has released a trailer for Matt Groening‘s newest show, a darkly humored but also heartening animated comedy series called Disenchantment. Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, brings his classic style and sharp but sweet wit to the show while introducing a unique cast of characters and a story that’s not quite as familiar as it seems.
Set in a medieval fantasy world, Disenchantment follows the story of the hard-drinking Princess Bean (voiced by Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson) after she refuses to go through with her royal wedding. Protesting the arrangement during the ceremony, she knocks the ring out of the hands of her would-be-husband. He bends over to pick it up and is stabbed through the head by a Game of Thrones-inspired seat constructed of swords. This all happens within the first 18 seconds of the trailer. Watch it below.
Following Bean’s announcement of her newfound independence, we meet her two sidekicks, who ultimately steal the trailer (and possibly the show). The first is Elfo (voiced by Nat Faxon), a little elf with a big heart who wants to “see the outside world.” I already love this character. You can tell he means well in all that he does through his sweet commentary, like “You can do anything if you believe in yourself.” But he’s not always the best example of his own wisdom. The line ironically comes right before he’s swept away by a rushing current and plunges down a deep waterfall.
Elfo’s personality reminds me of Olaf from Frozen, where he optimistically thinks that everything is going great and can only get better. This is something most adult cartoons don’t have. Characters can be a little naive at times, sure, but Elfo takes this trait to a whole new level. It’s a mix of purity and dark humor and themes that I’m excited for when it comes to this little guy. We don’t get what the relationship is between Bean and Elfo, but they seem to be pretty close friends. Maybe they will be like Harry Potter and Dobby! Who knows? Regardless, I can’t wait to see what other kinds of scenarios Elfo’s simple-mindedness will him get into in the great big medieval world.
Bean’s other sidekick happens to be her own personal demon. Luci (voiced by Eric Andre), introduced smoking a cigarette outside of the castle post-wedding disaster, appears to be the complete opposite of Bean and Elfo, this being established when he tells them that his dream in life is to “get rid of all the diseases plaguing mankind and replace them with worse ones.” He has the kind of dark sense of humor that I’m on board for — he’s literally a demon, after all. It’s the kind of humor that makes you laugh before you realize that you definitely should not be laughing.
While Bean brings a coming-of-age vibe in the trailer, Elfo and Luci even things out with the humor and hijinks, the pair of companions with a mix of sweet and salty attitude. Right from the get-go, we’re aware that this show is offering anything but a classic fairytale adventure story about a strong princess fighting for her own destiny.
Princess Bean seems like the type of protagonist who, throughout her misadventures, is going to fill us all with a little bit of wisdom with themes like finding out who you are and remaining hopeful through it all. In the trailer she says, “Isn’t there a point in everyone’s life where they need to go and figure out who they are?” If that alone isn’t inspiring enough, then I don’t know what more you want from Groening.
The 10-episode first season of Disenchantment will be released in full to stream on Netflix on August 17th, with an already-scheduled Season 2 coming in 2019.