Chilling, heartfelt ‘Over the Garden Wall’ stuns viewers


Screenshot from second episode.

Greg meets a bluebird named Beatrice who offers to guide him and his brother, Wirt, home.

Catherine Coppersmith, Staff Writer

Ambitious, emotional, and imaginative.

These are three words that can be used to describe the mini series “Over the Garden Wall”, a TV-PG mini-series from Cartoon Network that has 10 episodes for a total of about two hours.

The show lends itself to all audiences. The atmosphere and powerful story line that depicts sibling and environmental relationships to the fullest would get anyone wrapped up in the suspenseful, yet lighthearted drama.

“Over the Garden Wall” is designed with both a strong atmosphere and smart pacing. The story consists of two siblings, Wirt and Greg (along with Greg’s frog), who have somehow ended up in the unsettling, upside down world only known as “The Unknown”.

The boys explore this new world as they hear many chilling mentions of The Beast who is said to keep those who are lost in The Unknown forever.

The pacing is one of the parts of this series that allows it to stand out over the rest. One of the ways that the creators helped the pacing would be in the so called ‘filler episodes’. In many TV shows, filler episodes often hold no substance and are simply made to fluff out the seasons but in “Over the Garden Wall,” this is not the case.

The filler episodes often focus on one of the siblings and how they fare while exploring The Unknown. These episodes let the audience get a better feel for both of the brothers. As tensions become higher later in the series, you feel more inclined to worry about these characters that you have learned so much about.

Sophomore Gloria Price feels that the show did a great job on the characters craftsmanship. Price said, “The style is very eccentric. The characters are all very distinct, very well produced.” 

The environment is something that could make or break a show, and Price said, “The environment and the plot are both very wacky and spooky which makes it fun to watch.”

The director, Patrick McHale and the producer, Pernelle Hayes crafted a masterpiece of a TV show with the help of the many recognizable voices, such as Elijah Woods, Christopher Lloyd and Melanie Lynskey. All of the voice actors portray their characters with such realism.

Collin Dean, Greg, is a perfect example of this. Knowing that at the time of voicing Greg he was only 11, Dean embodies a child’s voice who just wants to explore and have fun.

My view of the show was extremely affected by the fantastical view of the world that Dean helped Greg display. Many quotes from Dean’s character sounded like they came right out of a child’s mouth, and since Dean was 11 at the time, it did.

Another standout on the acting front would be Elijah Woods,Wirt. Wirt is the awkward, yet charming protagonist who is exploring the ‘Unknown’ which is a purgatory like forest with his younger brother Greg. Woods’ warm yet nervous voice for this role lets the audience feel that they are listening to a teen who is anxious but looks out for his younger sibling. 

A piece of media that is similar to this outstanding series would be the film “Coraline”, in which a young girl by the name of Coraline moves into a new house and finds a portal to another dimension where everything seems perfect until it takes a turn.

“Over the Garden Wall” and “Coraline” both have young protagonists who find themsel

ves in a fantastical world for better or worse. Another similarity would be that both “Coraline” and “Over the Garden Wall” have a young child (Dakota Fanning is 10 when she voices Coraline) as one of the main characters.

While this series is a masterpiece when it comes to pacing, story, as well as acting, the show could be confusing or frightening to much younger viewers.

Children who are easily frightened or have an active imagination could be affected by the eeriness that comes with this show. An idea that was scrapped in the show was a character who made things out of teeth, an example of something that may have been too scary for younger viewers.

Startling ideas like the former are some of the many reasons this show had an outstanding response from the media, not only did IMDb give “Over the Garden Wall” a 8.8/10 and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 90% but the series won 2 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.

“Over the Garden Wall” is a beautiful, well paced, emotional series that gets 9/10 pumpkins.The aura surrounding this series is helped by the music sung by folk singers and the dark warm tones of the background that allow for autumnal feels. This all helps the audience become immersed in the story.