Since Netflix is a commercial-free streaming platform, co-creators Matt Groening and Josh Weinstein don’t have to operate under the confines of broadcast television where most animated comedies are relegated to around 22 minutes per episode. Disenchantment continues to push its runtimes up to (and sometimes over) thirty minutes, which tends to stretch many of the comedic scenes beyond their welcome.What continues to work for the series, however, is the excellent voice-over work from Abbi Jacobson (Bean), Eric André (Luci), Nat Faxon (Elfo), and many of the secondary characters, which are voiced by Groening alums like Futurama’s Billy West and John DiMaggio. In one of my favorite episodes from Season 3, titled “Steamland Confidential,” Faxon does amazing work as Elfo attempts to blend into high society by joining an “upscale explorers” club, which leads to some unexpected and hilarious moments later in the episode.
While not as prominent as in Season 2, Bean does have some compelling character moments as her journey of self-discovery continues the more time she spends away from her dad and her hometown of Dreamland. The episode “Last Splash” serves as a welcome character study for Bean and her relationship with an adventurous Mermaid named Mora. Elfo also gets some comedic introspection in this episode as he deals with a tragic loss.
André’s Luci is mostly left on the fringes this time around, which is disappointing, especially since Season 2 gave him some dynamic character-building moments during his trip to hell with Bean. It would have been nice to explore that thread a bit further in Season 3, but with the series’ ever-expanding narrative, some of the ensemble cast is bound to get left behind.
Netflix Spotlight: January 2021
In the visual department, the animation continues to shine, with some new and familiar locations to explore in Season 3. The series’ return to Steamland gives the animators a chance to show off more of the steampunk-inspired landscape that’s filled with plenty of flying blimps and some intimidating lightbulb-headed robots that you wouldn’t want to come across in a dark alley. While not as varied in locations as Season 2, there’s still plenty of animated eye-candy to enjoy throughout.