STRANGE PLANET Review: Beguiling People, Gentle Laughs

Tunde Adebimpe, Demi Adejuyigbe, Lori Tan Chinn, Danny Pudi, and Hannah Eichbinder star in the delightful animated series, debuting on Apple TV+, co-created by Dan Harmon and Nathan H. Pyle.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
STRANGE PLANET Review: Beguiling People, Gentle Laughs

More jitter liquid and mild poison, please.

Strange Planet
The first three episodes make their global premiere Wednesday, August 9, 2023, on Apple TV+. New episodes will debut weekly every Wednesday through the season finale on September 27, 2023. I've seen all 10 episodes.

Blessedly free of modern "adult animation" hallmarks, Strange Planet is a beguiling and refreshing series that steadily becomes more appealing, more comic, and more endearing.

Absent the usual abundance of harsh profanites and sexual innuendo that many "adult animation" shows rely upon to paper over a paucity of wit and wonder, the series instead depends upon -- shocker! -- its characters, who have developed upon a distant world where gentle kindness and polite courtesy are practiced by all its very civilized inhabitants.

Frankly baffling in its opening moments, it soon becomes apparent that the language spoken by the inhabitants makes a certain kind of loopy sense; what we call "coffee," for example, they call "jitter liquid;" what we call "alcohol" they call "mild poison." All the inhabitants look similar and are thus undefined by ethnic, racial or sexual stereotypes or human expectations.

Cartoonist and writer Nathan H. Pyle launched his webcomic Strange Planet on Instagram in 2019, with a book collection following later that year. The series, created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Nathan H. Pyle, features a few clever recurring characters, such as jitter liquid cafe manager (Hannah Einbinder, Hacks) and a loyal customer (Danny Pudi, Community), along with a lovely collection of residents, many delightfully voiced by Tunde Adebimpe, Demi Adejuyigbe, and Lori Tan Chinn, who deal with the complexities of life in a straightforward manner, usually with what some might call a 'still upper lip' and others a 'stoic resolve to look on the bright side of life.'

By the second episode, it's easy to put aside any jitters about the alternative naming of common things and see more easily the entirely relatable humor. Like any great philosophical tract, it wonders about the mysteries of life and questions what it all means. Unlike most philosophical tracts, however, it's consistently funny and marvelously insightful, inducing many mirthful moments.

What is the purpose of life? Maybe it's just to stop and smell the absurdities we take for granted. Life goes on, as a wise friend reminded me recently. Laugh and enjoy the moment, for as long as it lasts.

Happily, Strange Planet lasts for ten episodes, gradually increasing its wonder and steadily increasing the joy of watching what happens.

Strange Planet

  • James Adomian
  • Cedric Yarbrough
  • Beth Stelling
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Apple TV+Dan HarmonDanny PudiDemi AdejuyigbeHannah EichbinderLori Tan ChinnNathan H. PyleTunde AdebimpeJames AdomianCedric YarbroughBeth Stelling

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