Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Mysterious Benedict Society - A Bunch of Smart Orphans

The first episode of Disney+'s The Mysterious Benedict Society has a similar vibe to Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Also based on a series of young adult novels, The Mysterious Benedict Society introduces us a world in turmoil and four children who may hold the answers to saving it. The first episode follows orphan Reynie Muldoon (Mystic Inscho) on his journey to earn a scholarship to the prestigious Boatwright Academy. Through some unusual testing, we meet the other students (Mystic Inscho, Seth Carr, and Emmy DeOliveira), and the increasingly quirky adult characters (Tony Hale, Ryan Hurst, Kristen Schaal, and MaameYaa Boafo) who will make up the core cast.

"A Bunch of Smart Orphans" is all about introducing Reynie, and through his eyes the world. The other children get lesser roles, but we do get a feel for the overall make-up of the group of loners and orphans. The late addition of Constance Contraire (Marta Kessler) feels like an attempt to shake things up a bit and create an option for tension within the group, when needed. Several times "the Emergency," which is causing panic and confusion across the world, is referenced, although we don't get a clear picture on just what it is (although the final scene suggests it may in fact be man-made). Somehow the skills of these unique four children is required to figure out how to stop the Emergency.

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