Cartoon Network: Over the Garden Wall
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Cartoon Network: Over the Garden Wall (DVD)
From creator Patrick McHale, one of the minds behind Adventure Time, comes Over the Garden Wall - Cartoon Networks first ever animated mini-series. Over the Garden Wall follows the story of two brothers, Greg and Wirt, who find themselves in a strange forest. Along the way, they meet a bluebird named Beatrice who helps them navigate the strange land in the hopes of making their way home.]]>
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A welcome addition to any animation collection, this series has a dark fantasy vibe with a good heart. Gleaning inspiration from the classics like animations by Ub Iwerks and borrowing style from "Betty Boop" all with a modern twist, along with music that is both nostalgic and hauntingly new, this show will take you on an adventure unlike anything seen before. Take nothing for granted as you follow Wirt and his brother Greg through The Unknown.
About the DVD, this is a miniseries where every episode is somewhere from 10-15 minutes long, making the entire thing about the length of a movie. Each episode takes you further into their world, but don't worry - there isn't missing footage between episodes. (Though, they are going to be releasing a comic series that will cover what's between the lines, but that's not out yet.) So for now, just go along with it.
Bonus Material: The audio commentary is ok, you get to hear some of what the creators went through as they made the series, but don't expect them to share any deep secrets about the meaning of the show. They want you to come up with your own interpretation, I'm sure. (Though it seems like they themselves are not convinced of a single meaning.) The music track, on the other hand, is a must listen. It allows you to hear full length versions of the soundtrack and is a complete joy.
It's completely charming, not too scary for little kids, but not too childish for adults, either. I'm nearly 30 and I love this little show. The disc is also packed with extras: behind the scenes, alternate title cards and cut scenes. Did I mention the music? There's so much of it! There's even an option to watch each episode with JUST the music on (I put on the subtitles, too).
My reason for buying this was that I needed to spend $9 more for free shipping, so I took a chance. This is probably the best $9 I've ever spent.
But if you're reading this you likely know what Over the Garden Wall is. This is a serviceable DVD with the original pilot, the option to play all with just the music, some deleted animatics, and creator commentary. Unfortunately, the creator commentary isn't very good. They aren't very lively or enthusiastic, and they mumble inaudibly a lot. Luckily there's a "making of" featurette that makes up for this somewhat.
If you love OTGW, you should support the creators by buying the DVD. CN needs to know that great shows like this make money too and not just Teen Titans Go.
Most episodes have their own story, and these range from funny to sad to scary. But there is a clear overall story arc as well. The characters are likable, and the animation is quite good, even if the art style is simple. The folk-y music is a highlight of the series as well. It's not a musical show, but the songs are frequent and always do a fantastic job of establishing the "feel" of Over the Garden Wall.
The DVD is well put together and is a great value for the $10 you're paying for it. It includes all episodes, the original pilot, commentaries, and even a "composer's cut" where the episode plays with only the score and soundtrack. If you want to support Western animation, pick up this DVD.