QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded
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Over the Garden Wall

Over the Garden Wall at IMDB

This is a cartoon mini-series that was made for Cartoon Network. It is in ten parts of ten minutes each. The story has a very traditional feel to it, and it keyworded "folk horror" at imdb. Think Brothers Grimm as another "folk horror" subject.

My daughter (who shares a first name with the bluebird) requested it on DVD last year, and while she watched it when it was new, I've only just watched it.

Two brothers, the elder one morose, and the younger one indefatigable, are lost in "The Unknown" (a place name we only get from title cards). This location has the stock characters of folk tales, starting with a talking bluebird and woodsman who warns of a beast in the woods. One episode has a meta subplot where a group of stock characters in a tavern try to identify which stock characters our two brothers are. The elder is first pegged as the Simpleton.

It also follows conventions similar to traditional long oral stories: it has a frame story with smaller episodic bits that don't necessarily have a fixed order, but do slowly reveal aspects of the characters worlds, pasts, and motivations. As one very minor spoiler, the blue bird is a girl under enchantment who is questing to break her spell, which has also affected her family.

It is suitable for all ages and quite well done. Seven frogs out of seven in a seven piece riverboat band.