The Simpsons have spoofed the “current day” for 30 years, and Futurama was a fun, heartfelt sci-fi romp in the far future. Creator Matt Groening’s new Netflix show is focusing on another era — a fantasy version of the past, and the first trailer for the series is way ahead of any of your jokes that Disenchantment looks a little derivative.
“You’ve seen the future in Futurama. You’ve seen the present in Springfield. So, what’s the obvious third move?” a narrator asks as the teaser, which hit the web on Thursday, begins. “The past, of course! Welcome to Dreamland!”
We then see the king of Dreamland interrogate a hooded woman, a prisoner, who has been brought before his royal court. The king begins to diss her appearance (“weak chin, buck teeth”) before a guard pulls off the hood revealing his daughter, Princess Bean, as voiced by Abbi Jacobson of Broad City.
There’s not much more to the trailer beyond that — Bean’s sidekicks, the elf Elfo (Nat Faxon) and demon Luci (Eric Andre), don’t get a chance to speak, but Jacobson’s quivering voice in her one line (“hi, dad”) indicates that the two don’t have a great relationship. Seems like there might be some real emotion in this show.
It’s a bit of a shame, actually, that Netflix is drawing attention to what’s likely to be the easiest bit of preemptive criticism the show faces. The Simpsons has notoriously suffered a major quality dip over the decades and arguably run out of ideas, so it’s an interesting strategy to swerve into how “obvious” Disenchantment is as a “third move,” especially when it might actually be great.
Maybe “The Simpsons and Futurama, but fantasy” is an easy elevator pitch, but it doesn’t imply that there’s a high creative ceiling.
Future trailers for the series, which drops on August 17, will likely do more to establish Disenchantment as it’s own show, rather than just a palate swap. It’ll be interesting to see what Groening’s latest effort looks like when presented on its own merits.