Friday, 24 August 2018

TV Show Review: Gravity Falls

Pros: fun characters, siblings that fight and still love each other, intricate storytelling, great humour


Twins “Dipper” and Mable Pines are shipped to their great uncle’s place in the woods for the summer. Their grunkle Stan runs The Mystery Shack, a tourist attraction of bizarre made-up creatures and no refunds. When Dipper uncovers a mysterious journal he begins to see that there are real monsters and mystery in the town.

The show’s got a great supernatural overlay, making it feel like a kids version of X-Files paired with the weirdness and interconnected storytelling of Twin Peaks. There are hidden codes and astute viewers will see side characters pop up in strange places. It’s a great show for easter eggs and esoterica (if you don’t feel like solving all the mysteries yourself, you can find a lot answers/translated cryptograms online).

The characters are fantastic. I loved that the twins fight a lot but it’s clear that they also love each other and will do anything for each other. Quite a few episodes end with them working through their differences in order to save the day. The same goes for their friends and enemies. Each character has their own motivations, and work towards their own goals as the show progresses. As the two seasons are a continuous story, you really get to know everyone in town.

While it is a show for older kids, there’s a fair amount of adult humour. Not crassness, but jokes that will go over the heads of the kiddos that adults will enjoy. Most of these revolve around Stan’s being a con artist. So for example, in an early episode the kids are seen making counterfeit money as part of a family bonding activity. It’s also a show that gets better with each viewing. The first time through some of the characters/episodes annoyed me, but rewatching them I could see where the characters grew due to their interactions and how each story built into a larger whole. You’re also more aware of the various easter eggs and ongoing jokes peppered through the show.

Season one is basically monster of the day stories, while season two starts to tie the larger mysteries of the town together.

It’s great to find a show that’s so well written and brilliantly voice acted. The characters all seem real and the final episode really tugs on those heart strings. And when you finish watching, if you’d like more, there are some books that flesh out the world, including Journal 3. Gravity Falls is a wonderful rabbit hole to fall into.

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