Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Dead End: Paranormal Park - a review

Logging into Netflix, Dead End: Paranormal Park took me by surprise. I remembered seeing a Twitter post about it and was momentarily confused that I hadn't seen more. Then I remembered that most of the entertainment news crawling into my timeline is either Stranger Things or book related. It looked good, instantly giving me Gravity Falls vibes, so I couldn't resist hitting play. It didn't take me long to realise I'd found a new favourite show. Let me share it with you.

The Plot
When Barney and Norma arrive at Phoenix Parks (a theme park based around in-series superstar Pauline Phoenix.), they think the most challenging part of their day will be competing with each other for the job they've both applied for. Unfortunately, they soon discover that they've been tricked into entering the park's haunted house by demon Courtney and a host of other horrors to provide the demon King Temeluchus with a body to possess. In the ensuing chaos, Pugsley (Barney's dog, who he'd snuck into the park in his backpack.) ends up being the one possessed, and the two competing teens have to team up to save their canine friend and put a stop to Temeluchus' evil plans.
Even after they've completed the seemingly impossible task of vanquishing the demon king and gaining employment at the park, things don't get any easier. On top of dealing with family problems, romance, paranormal hijinks, a now-talking Pugsley and having Courtney as a friend, they soon discover that the park may be hiding a sinister secret. There's a mystery afoot at Phoenix Parks, and the gang better solve it quickly because people are going missing.

It's been a long time since I've gotten into a series. I mean properly sat myself down and devoured a series in one sitting, only to be left wanting more. I'm really hoping that Netflix okay a 2nd season, and soon. No spoilers, but this series ended on a fascinating cliffhanger, and I can't wait to see where they take it next. I especially love that the series is LGBTQ+ inclusive, which is great to see. And you can relax knowing that the Bury Your Gays trope is nowhere to be seen. 
I noticed in the credits that the show was based on books* by Hamish Steele, the series' creator. Looking into this further, I discovered that it started as animated shorts called Dead End on Cartoon Hangover and then moved to graphic novel form, titled Deadendia. I highly recommend checking out both of these; it's interesting to see how the series has evolved over the years, plus they're fun to watch/read.
Each character has their own unique design and stands out nicely from eachother. I liked Barney and Norma from the start. The two of them work well together, their friendship growing and becoming stronger as the show continues. Well written and likeable, you'll soon find yourself emotionally invested in their adventures. Each has their own personality and background, making them highly relatable. The animation is bright and eyecatching, keeping you glued to the screen. It's genuinely a joy to watch. The location, Phoenix Parks, is nicely designed with attention paid to detail. You get to see the different themed areas, each based around one of Pauline's many movies. The end result was a sudden craving to round up all my friends and head to a theme park. The cheerful location perfectly offsets the spooky elements of the show. 
Dead End: Paranormal Park is entertaining viewing for all ages. I recommend giving it a watch, even if you don't generally like animation or spooky shows. It's a funny, heartfelt and occasionally dark tale of triumphing over evil, while coming of age and dealing with everything else life throws at you. Honestly, I think it's just perfect.
Roll on Season 2.

Dead End: Paranormal Park is rated PG. The first season contains 10 episodes, each up to 30 minutes long, and can be found on Netflix.

Already seen Dead End: Paranormal Park? Share your thoughts, favourite characters or favourite moments in the comments below, or tag me in a Tweet. Just remember to avoid spoilers for the folks who haven't seen it yet. Speaking of the people who haven't seen it yet, feel free to leave a comment too! Are you looking forward to watching it? Why aren't you watching it now? Seriously, go check it out! Maybe you have some suggestions for similar cartoons that people might enjoy? Once again, drop a comment below or tag me in a Tweet. I love to hear from you.

*I immediately headed to Amazon to try and grab myself a copy, only to discover they had none in stock. Very disappointing, but I managed to grab a copy in Foyles instead. I've only flicked through it, but I already know I will enjoy reading it.

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