Over the Garden Wall to Thee
November 8, 2014 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Over the Garden Wall is a five night “mystery event” animated miniseries that’s a charming, lovely, and occasionally creepy mix of late 19th century/early 20th century Americana, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Miyazaki, and Adventure Time.

Created by Patrick McHale, who also worked on The Misadventures of Flapjack and Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall follows brothers Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) as they try to find their way home through the mysterious woods they’ve found themselves in, with the help of a bluebird named Beatrice (Melanie Lynskey). It also features delightfully old-timey music composed by the Petrojvic Blasting Company and featuring artists like Chris Isaak, Jack Jones, and Blind Boy Paxton.

The miniseries received an A from the AV Club, and qualified praise from the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Watch the first episode and a preview of the sixth on Youtube. And take a look at the concept art and gorgeous background paintings over at the series’ official Tumblr page.
posted by yasaman (15 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, wow, so cool! I'm totally out of the loop tv-wise so it's great to learn about this. Thanks! (I loooooved Flapjack.)
posted by Partario at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2014

Over the Garden Wall is amazing, a real artistic triumph. It's beautiful and cohesive and funny and creepy and earnest and layered. I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially if you're familiar with early cartoons.

I really have to give it to Cartoon Network for producing something like this, and I'm looking forward to more stuff like it. The open-ended nature of most American TV cartoons means you can't really do something so ambitious or focused or with such good animation. It's everything I want out of a cartoon.
posted by Small Dollar at 3:26 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The first episode linked in the OP was just gorgeous, I'm going to love getting to watch the whole thing when I have time. Between this and the series premiere of Bee & Puppycat over at Cartoon Hangover (Do we have an FPP for that? Somebody should do one), this seems like a pretty good time for TV/streaming animation. Compared to what I grew up with in the '80s, the cartoons being made these days feel superior in almost every way. So thanks, yasaman!
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:30 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I loved Over The Garden Wall. Now I would love to see Tome of The Unknown, which was the short that inspired it. It isn't anywhere to be found right now, unfortunately.
posted by 41swans at 4:44 PM on November 8, 2014

Yeah, I hope Cartoon Network produces more like this. It's just a beautifully cohesive and fully realized work that was obviously made with a lot of care and attention. It's really just icing on the cake that it's laugh out loud funny and tear-inducing touching on top of being so utterly gorgeous.

I do wonder how this played to children though. I found it totally engaging and entertaining as an adult, and not even "good for a kids' show" good, just straight up good. It felt really universally appealing to me, but I'm wondering if kids or young adults would like it as much. Part of the joy I took in it was spotting all the references to classic animation and seeing how the series turned so many disparate influences into a coherent whole, and I don't expect that many children are up on their media history in that way.

Also, gotta admit, some parts were genuinely creepy and scary. It actually startled a couple yelps of surprise from me! And geeze, it ends up in some pretty dark and deep territory by the end, and the hints towards that unfold beautifully.
posted by yasaman at 4:45 PM on November 8, 2014

This looks amazing! Now I have something to watch over the next couple of...

Not available in Canada.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

I fell completely in love with this last week. The nostalgia for a time and place that never really existed, but that Americans-of-a-certain-age are as familiar with as reality, as shown in the first eight chapters really pushed my buttons.

The penultimate chapter though, tying it all back to what might pass as the childhoods of those same people, took my love for it to a higher plane. I was born in and spent my early childhood in a northeastern city with slate sidewalks. We had to walk past one of the oldest churchyard cemeteries in the country to get to my grandmother's house. To see an idealized version of the place I formed my earliest memories was very affecting.

It's a shame they weren't able to get it on for Halloween week for whatever reason.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:16 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I do wonder how this played to children though.

My ten year old boy really liked it, he was very engaged and looked forward to it continuing all week. A little baffled at parts (particularly the twists of the final episodes) but he seemed very satisfied at the conclusion.
posted by nanojath at 6:59 PM on November 8, 2014

This is some twisted crossbreed of Rootabaga Stories and Winesburg, Ohio. I love it.
posted by The White Hat at 7:11 PM on November 8, 2014

wow this must be the night for cartoons! This is the best cartoon I've seen all year, it is SO GOOD. i think my favorite running gag is when some new animal starts talking unexpectedly.
posted by rebent at 8:28 PM on November 8, 2014

This is fantastic! I hadn't heard about this at all and I can't wait to see the rest. Im also looking forward to the conversation here as the story unfolds. And can I just say that there's something about hearing Christopher Lloyd's voice that is so...comforting.

There are definitely creepy elements that probably would have scared me when I was a kid so I'd probably vet them before letting my non-existent kids watch.

If you download the Cartoon Network app you can watch episode two now, and if you have cable and your cable provider is linked you can unlock all the episodes. (Stupid TWC is not a partner.)

I really have to give it to Cartoon Network for producing something like this

Someone (in the Too Many Cooks thread?) said the CN is really stepping up its game. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of their shows.

Do we have an FPP for that?

Yes! I made a Bee and Puppycat post last night.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:41 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

there's something about hearing Christopher Lloyd's voice that is so...comforting.

For me, it's the knowledge that Lloyd is doing voice work in cartoons that aren't Food Fight. I know it doesn't make sense, but watching the disturbingly jittery, off-kilter animation of his character in FF actually made me afraid for his current well-being. Also, hearing him voice-acting opposite Elijah Wood was nice, because Christopher Lloyd was my head-cast Gandalf the first time I read through Lord of the Rings.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2014

FYI, there's a Fanfare post by jbickers up as well, and I'd recommend any really spoilery talk go there. I'd hate to spoil the very well done reveal of the nature of the woods for any first time viewers.
posted by yasaman at 4:24 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is very frustrating. All the episodes have aired, but only the first episode is available via TimeWarner OnDemand. When this was first posted here you could download the Cartoon Network app and watch the first two episodes, which were unlocked. Now, instead of having more episodes unlocked, they are all locked. That is, of course, unless you sync the app with your cable provider and sign in, in which case they are all unlocked. Unless, of course, your cable provider is TimeWarner, which is not a partner, so tough luck. Grrr.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:38 AM on November 13, 2014

Yeah, I've got no idea what's going on with the availability of the episodes on Cartoon Network, sorry all. They were all unlocked and available last weekend sans log in for me, but when I tried linking a friend a couple days ago, I ran into the same problems as you, Room 641-A. The show is available to buy on Amazon and iTunes though.
posted by yasaman at 10:40 AM on November 13, 2014

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