WarningMight contain spoilers.

This begins as a show with a dual personality. There’s the dark ‘real’ world with Rider: well-animated, well-designed, well-directed, and well-written. Then there’s Centaurworld: garish and offputting Internet æsthetics married to gratuitous awkwardness, strangeness, and loudness. The duality becomes less prominent and important right from the second episode, however. The show gradually but completely won me over as the plot got underway, and I was able to appreciate the precise comedic timing, the occasionally dark humour, the self-awareness, the fun, the sweetness… and the musicality.

For once, this is a cast mainly made up of capable singers, and while the music isn’t always special, it’s usually catchy and enjoyable. There are some standouts: ‘It’s Hidin’ Time’, ‘Fragile Things’,[1] the songs of ‘Johnny Teatime's Be Best Competition: A Quest for the Sash’ and ‘The Rift: Part 1’. Megan Hilty’s singing as Wammawink and Rosalie Craig’s as the Whaletaur Shaman’s are highlights, along with Wammawink’s satisfyingly precise little vocalizations between sentences.

The undercurrent of darkness—when the judge’s hammer squashes something in ‘Holes: Part 2’, for instance, or how the Whaletaur Shaman hilariously avoids singing that she eats everyone—is noticeable and pleasurable. Hats off to creator Megan Dong, who also ably brings Glendale to life with compelling voice work and impressive singing.

There is some unsettling disregard for consent, particularly in the first two episodes. Durpleton the giraffetaur is a constant offender. I understand that it’s intentional, but I don’t understand why. Fortunately, he transitions to being more of an inoffensive bumbler by the end. (Even Josh Radnor grew on me, though not his singing.)

The song about The Nowhere King is creepy. His design is eerie and reminiscent of the black creatures from season 2 of Legion . His voice, in contrast, is disappointing, and his appearance shifts too much in the finale to have an impact.

The ending unfolds on fairly predictable lines with several repetitive notes in the Rift (someone gets caught, someone else comes to the rescue, rinse and repeat), but it’s well done. I appreciated Ched trying to reverse time in proper Superman style. I look forward to the second season (which I just realized was released in December!).

I feel for Horse, whose own body betrays her. I hope her very ugly transformation is temporary.

  1. The brief, sad reprise of which in ‘Ride the Whaletaur Shaman’ caught me unawares.