(The Disneycember logo (with new music playing) is shown, before showing clips from Star vs. the Forces of Evil)
Doug (vo): It's Star vs. the Forces of Evil. After shows like Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, this is yet another one that throws its hat into the ring as one of those continuing stories that has, well, both simple and complex characters, basic and also detailed animation, episodic but also telling a grand tale, super-goofy and also super-serious. Yeah, it's hard to describe these type of shows, but you all know what I'm talking about. It was probably started with Adventure Time, and that style has grown insanely popular, still being done today. (The poster for DuckTales (2017) is shown) And if you know me, you know I really enjoy Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, and so forth. So where does Star rank? Well...it's complicated. Like, really...really...really complicated. The show isn't like Avatar, where it's good all the way through, or like Game of Thrones, where it's mostly good and then has a bad ending. It's very much a Korra. (The poster of The Legend of Korra is shown) It can't really be judged as a whole. It has to be judged season by season. So, okay, let's try it. Season 1.
Premise[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Star is a princess from a magical world called Mewni. Though her power is great, she's way too rambunctious. So she's sent to a parallel dimension known as Earth. They put her in a sort of foreign exchange student program, and she lives with a family who has a son named Marco, who's about her age. Marco, unsurprisingly, finds her ways very odd and bizarre, and she sometimes finds his ways very odd and bizarre, but the longer they're around each other, the more they form a strong friendship. But a creature from another dimension named Ludo constantly uses his monster minions to try and fight Star to get her magic wand. Not only do Star and Marco constantly defeat him, as he's actually not that threatening, but she uses her magic scissors to go dimension-jumping to see all sorts of various worlds and characters and strange oddities.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So, okay. That's the basic premise, and I'll try not to go too much into spoilers here. I'll just sort of give an idea of what each season is like. The first season is funny, and that's honestly about it. I know what you're thinking. "What's wrong with that? Funny is funny." Well, you can tell it's trying to be like these other shows, like DuckTales and Steven Universe and so forth, where they have this continuing mystery, but also these dramatic moments with the characters' arcs, and it almost feels like they just do the bare minimum with it, largely because the majority of the season just takes place on Earth. Yeah, there's weird people and stuff, but something like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls was really good at this world-building, just sort of creating this environment and giving you an idea how these different places work. We mostly just follow Star and Marco going to school, he shows her stuff about the human world, and sometimes, we go to a different dimension, but most of the problems are either just Ludo attacking or some sort of teenage problem that doesn't really add anything too new.
(Footage of the episode about to be mentioned is shown)
Doug (vo): The only episode I remember from this season where I was like, "Wow, that felt like something different, that felt like something from another world", is where she goes through "muberty". It's Mewni's form of puberty, and it's both over-the-top, completely insane, but kind of clever in the way it works in the changes and frustrations that kids go through, but also similar to how other creatures go through it-- I don't know. It was just really, really smart and really abstract, and I thought there was a lot of layers to it. But the rest just felt like Power Rangers episodes, with funny writing.
(Footage focusing on the show's second season is shown, with clips also focusing on some of the show's villains and side characters)
Doug (vo): The second season is where things start to get a lot better. There's a lot more exploring different worlds and different characters, and there's even kind of this different point of view that's being set up. Again, without giving away too much, there's this kind of force that's seen as an enemy, but the past history might show maybe they're not. But on top of that, there's another evil character who definitely seems like the enemy, and you're constantly trying to figure out what's he up to. Is he part of this misunderstanding, or is he really evil as well? How powerful is he? What's he trying to do? But you also begin the love triangle. Yeah, it has one of these. And it's honestly just The Office again. You know how it's going to end, you know what these characters are going to go through, you're just shouting, "Hurry it up!" And they don't. They just take their sweet-ass time with it. The irony is, I actually think some of the side characters they're going with might actually be better for them. I don't know, I was more interested in the mystery of how those relationships would progress rather than the one I'm supposed to be invested in, which I already know how that's gonna end. But still, it feels like the show got its proper footing. Even the villain [Ludo] got a lot more engaging, as he loses everything and has to start from scratch, and he forms this great relationship with this spider and this bird and even these rats, and you're kind of rooting for him. In the first season, I was pretty annoyed by him, but by the second season, he became my favorite part.
(Footage focusing on the show's third season is shown)
Doug (vo): And then you have the third season, which makes some major changes, but are still really engaging changes. Now, instead of taking place mostly on Earth, it takes place mostly in Mewni. This is so much better. We find out more about these weird creatures and this odd world and the history of this odd world. There's this imprisoned character named Eclipsa, who, I swear, is probably the biggest mystery I've ever seen in a show. I had no idea if she was good or bad throughout the majority of the series. That's very rare for me. I usually figure that stuff out pretty quick, but they kept really playing both sides like either was plausible. Once again, the comedy is very funny, the drama is just getting more and more gut-wrenching and fascinating. But it also seems to be shifting focus. In the first two seasons, they're kind of building up like this one person is gonna be the big threat, the big villain, but then they're just kind of gone. Now it's something else that's supposed to be the main evil that I guess was hinted at a little bit, but I'm not sure this was all planned out from the beginning.
(Footage focusing on the show's fourth season is shown)
Doug (vo): And then we get the fourth and final season, which, yeah, I wanted to know what was gonna happen, I was invested, I mean, more than I was at the beginning. But...kind of like Rise of Skywalker, it just didn't feel like this was where everything was supposed to go. The idea now is two worlds trying to be forced together and the problems that come from that, and I actually really like this idea. They were kind of talking about that in Korra, and then they just kind of abandoned it, and I like that they really focus on it here. I also like that they don't Frozen II it and just completely eradicate the consequences. No, the main character makes this big, controversial choice at the end of the third season, and in the fourth season, she has to live with it. Everyone hates her, they don't see her as doing the right thing, they all call her a backstabber and a traitor, and it lasts for a really long time. I think you could argue, it never fully goes away. But it's also the main focus of the entire season. These two worlds trying to get along, and I guess I won't reveal what the big, evil thing is at the end that they have to fight, but when you see who the evil masterminds are, it's pretty underwhelming. Don't worry. They have their big battles and going to different worlds and trying various types of magic to do what's right, but it feels like so many other characters and plot threads and ideas that were being set up are just kind of abandoned. It has a good message and all, it's just kind of being done to death now. Breaking prejudice, seeing things from a different point of view, all that jazz. Yes, it's important, but I'm just not seeing anything that new being introduced here to teach the lesson better. I wasn't the biggest fan of Trolls World Tour, but, man, the way they incorporated the lesson about prejudice and the different strings and music and so forth, that was creative, that was new, that was brilliant. Here, it's the opposite. Everything kept my attention and I was entertained, it was just not going anywhere that exciting, at least definitely not what the other seasons were building up. It's like halfway through The Wizard of Oz, if Dorothy just decided not to see the Wizard and to see somebody else that could help. Well, okay, I didn't see that coming and I'm sure it'd be entertaining, but what's the point in even having the Wizard, then?
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So, wow. Yeah, that's a lot to take in. How do you sum up if that's good or bad or if you recommend it or what? I guess there's a lot more good than bad in it. With the exception of the romance, there's really nothing in it that I thought was awful, I wasn't going, "Oh, my God! This is just the worst!" They were more underwhelming elements. But when you compare them to the great elements, which there are several in this show, those slip-ups do kind of hurt in the long run. But I still say, I did laugh a lot, I was engaged, I was properly invested and wanted to know what was gonna happen next. I didn't want to not finish the show, I mean, I did want to know how it was all gonna wrap up. So I guess the best way I can sum it up is...it's okay, with some really great moments thrown in. If you're alright sitting through a show that has a lot of ups and downs just to get to those great moments, I'd say it's worth it, check it out. If you're looking for something that works as a complete product, it's definitely not that. But truly, I don't know many shows that are like that. Maybe I've been spoiled with things like Adventure Time and Steven Universe and Gravity Falls. I mean, a lot of things do change in the making of a show. I feel like there's probably a lot of notes, a lot of people talking online, and the writers trying to rewrite things to please them, or maybe the studio heads were saying, "Now it has to go this direction", or whatever. I think the best elements are just so good, I want to see them in something that's more completed and more fully focused. But, for what I got, I think it's good. If you really enjoy these surreal comedy shows that have an ongoing story with a little bit of drama, I'd say this is worth adding to the list. I'll admit, since I watched these on Disney+ and didn't watch them as they came out, I don't really know what the response is to the show. Did you think it was great all the way through? Did it have a lot of ups and downs? Were you let down? Did you feel it came through? Let me know, as I legit don't know what the general reaction is. But, from my standpoint, I'm glad I saw it, and I probably won't be forgetting about the adventures in Mewni anytime soon.
(A shot in the show's opening sequence, showing Star and the rest of the main characters posing in front of the camera, is shown)