Strange Planet Season 1 Review

Strange Planet Premieres on Apple TV+: A Charming, Downtempo Cartoon Adaptation

Strange Planet, the beloved webcomic by Nathan W. Pyle, is making its debut on Apple TV+ on August 9. The cartoon adaptation brings Pyle’s blue alien beings and their unique perspective on everyday human life to the screen, offering a refreshing alternative to fast-paced, adult-animation. Pyle teams up with renowned comedy writer Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty, to create a charming, fleshed-out world where interconnected characters explore topics such as fear of flying and stage fright with emotional sensitivity.

The pilot episode, titled “The Flying Machine,” introduces the town of Beingsburgh, where the inhabitants engage in activities similar to humans but with a heightened sense of emotional maturity and self-awareness. Although the characters are unnamed, they become more distinct throughout the 10-episode season through their vocal performances and unique accessories. The series cleverly incorporates the webcomic’s idiosyncratic dialect, adding to the fun of mentally translating terms like “jitter juice” for coffee or “Emergence Day” for a birthday.

While the beings occasionally exhibit moments of stupidity, Strange Planet primarily focuses on exploring their interior lives, addressing sources of anxiety, resentment, vulnerability, and love. Some episodes struggle to present equally compelling storylines, but standout episodes like “The Flying Machine,” “Tiny Trash,” “Adolescent Limbshake,” and the season finale “Double Shadow Day” tackle relatable topics such as the fear of flying and the feeling of failure in one’s 20s. On the other hand, episodes centered around sea sickness or sports fandom feel somewhat underdeveloped.

The animated series successfully captures the simplicity and pastel color palette of the webcomic, elevating it with the 2D visuals from studios like ShadowMachine (known for BoJack Horseman and Tuca and Bertie). The series establishes a defined setting for Beingsburgh through dialogue and set pieces, giving viewers a sense of scope and scale within the titular planet. Additionally, recurring locales like the Careful Now Cafe contribute to the cozy and lived-in atmosphere of the show.

While Strange Planet may not cater to everyone’s taste, it will particularly resonate with fans of shows that prioritize heartfelt storytelling, such as Ted Lasso or The Bear. Furthermore, it offers an excellent viewing option for families, allowing parents to watch the show together with their children and engage in meaningful conversations about emotions and experiences.