.Season 2 of Disenchantment has arrived, and it suffers from many of the same flaws as Season 1. Matt Groening has turned his calculating eye to fantasy after thoroughly satirizing the family sitcom and sci-fi genres. The results have been mixed. Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson), Elfo (Nat Faxon), and Luci (Eric Andre) have a great on-screen chemistry, but the show’s humor falls flat a lot of the time. However, the show has great potential, which will hopefully be realized in the upcoming Seasons 3 and 4. Until then, here are ten other shows in the same vein: ambitious fantasy with a healthy dose of self-awareness.
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1. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)
While Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance isn’t a true comedy/fantasy, it also doesn’t get overly grim, like many Jim Henson productions. A prequel to the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal, this Netflix series tells the story of the Gelflings, a kind race, and the Skeksis, a villainous race, as well as the titular Dark Crystal, which can drain the life essence of innocent victims in order to make its possessor immortal. Before the events of the film, three Gelflings are on a mission to incite a revolution against the evil Skeksis. They are followed by the game’s Age of Resistance. Animation and puppetry abound in this series, which features all the political fairyland intrigue you could ask for.
2. Good Omens (2019)
Anyone who has read “Good Omens” (Workman, 1990), Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s genre-defying apocalyptic novel, knows exactly why “Disenchantment” fans will enjoy it. The 2019 Amazon Prime reimagining retains a great deal of the original’s charm. The off-kilter wit is a mix of cynicism and sweetness. Despite the large cast, each character is likable and memorable in their own right. There’s even a decently detailed cosmology for those who enjoy the process of creating a new world. There are two main characters in the film who steal the show: Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant), who are angel and demon, respectively.
3. American Gods (2017-present)
American Gods is a good place to start if you enjoy twisted retellings of well-known stories. A former criminal, Shadow, joins forces with a mysterious benefactor, Mr. Wednesday, in this adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ambitious novel of the same name. A battle is raging between the Old Gods of antiquity and the New Gods of media and technology. The two must work together to survive. After a while, Shadow discovers that Mr. Wednesday has his own agenda and that a mysterious force may be playing both sides for a plethora of ill-gotten gains. Disenchantment made fun of fantasy tropes, and American Gods does the same with mythology.
4. The Good Place (2016-present)
Philosophy, morality, religion, and self-actualization are all hot topics for TV shows that could easily devolve into pretentiousness. The Good Place, on the other hand, is hilarious and delightful. Eleanor Shellstrop, a saleswoman who dies and ends up in the heavenly Good Place, appears in this magical sitcom. There’s only one problem: Eleanor Shellstrop isn’t the right Eleanor; our protagonist hasn’t actually led such a morally upright existence. By going on a series of spiritual adventures and learning all about ethics and the “rules” of various possible afterlife scenarios, she tries to better herself. The Good Place is a completely different kind of show, but it’s still a fantasy/comedy show with a half-hour running time, so it’s easy to binge watch.
5. Galavant (2015-2016)
The Simpsons and Futurama have much better musical numbers if you love Disenchantment’s setting and humor, so give Galavant a shot. Sir Gary Galavant is a knight on a quest to save his beloved Madalena from the evil King Richard in this high-fantasy/comedy mashup. It’s a classic plot, but there’s a twist: Characters frequently break into songs composed by superstar composer Alan Menken, who wrote many of the show’s most memorable numbers. The jokes are silly, the story is heartfelt, and the guest stars, including Ricky Gervais, Weird Al Yankovic, and the late, great Rutger Hauer, are all familiar faces from genre television.
6. The Legend of Korra (2012-2014)
Despite its flaws, Disenchantment gets points for having a unique female lead character. The Legend of Korra’s titular character, like Bean, isn’t your typical adolescent hero. Follows the adventures of Korra, a young woman who can magically control the elements of earth, air, fire, and water in this sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Despite her role as an Avatar, Korra is a teenage girl dealing with issues like her family, friendships, and romantic relationships in addition to saving the world. Despite the fact that the show leans heavily toward action rather than comedy, it’s still quite amusing, especially if you enjoy slapstick comedy. From Bolin the clown to Tenzin the patient, the characters in The Legend of Korra are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
7. Eureka (2006-2012)
Eureka leans more toward science fiction than fantasy, but the subject matter is mellow and the humor is big. The show centers on a U.S. marshal named Jack Carter, who is appointed sheriff of the fictional town of Eureka, Oregon. In fact, Eureka is a military-sponsored experiment designed for superhumans, while Jack is a regular guy from the suburbs. Eureka, like Disenchantment, makes use of well-known tropes like mad scientists, parallel universes, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. This is closer to another Groening show, The Simpsons, in terms of tone. Because everyone in town has a unique story to tell, everyone gets a turn in the spotlight once or twice.
8. Futurama (1999-2013)
Futurama, a 1999 Groening spoof of sci-fi, has a lot in common with Disenchantment. Fans have been debating between Futurama and The Simpsons for the past two decades, and I doubt they’ll ever come to a consensus. In any case, Futurama is a television gem that is hard to come by. A love letter to classic sci-fi and a dissection of some of the genre’s most persistent blunders, the show manages to be both heartfelt and hilarious. Delivery boy Philip J. Fry is cryogenically suspended until the year 3000 in 1999, and everything begins from that point on. After he thaws out, he joins the Planet Express team, where he makes deliveries all over the galaxy, all while completely screwing them up.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
While Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fantasy and comedy show, it also incorporates elements of horror, comedy, and drama, and it does so admirably. Initially, Buffy Summers is a normal high school student, but she soon discovers that she is the legendary Slayer, a young woman destined to battle vampires and demons. The fact that Joss Whedon created and wrote a large portion of the show means the dialogue on Buffy is full of biting one-liners. In addition, there’s a rich mythology to be discovered, replete with fantastical beings of light and dark. For those who enjoyed Princess Bean in Disenchantment, chances are good that you’ll enjoy Buffy just as much.
10. The Simpsons (1989-present)
Not his first major work, but it remains one of his most enduring (Disenchantment frequently mentions Groening’s earliest comic, “Life in Hell”). Honestly, if you’ve never watched The Simpsons, you’re missing out on one of the greatest television shows of all time and an essential part of American popular culture. If you’ve stumbled upon Disenchantment without first watching the Simpsons, you need to go back and watch the episodes with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. However, keep in mind that the humor will wear off after a while, and most fans recommend skipping Seasons 10 and onward. Although Season 12 has some good moments, it’s still a stretch.)