Over the Garden Wall
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Whimsical, adventurous tale has some scary moments, too.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Wirt and Greg's adventures are far-fetched for their ages, but that's to be expected in a fairy tale-style tale like this one. The idea that magic creates a world where nothing is as it seems leads to both exciting and worrisome possibilities, as it's hard to predict how some situations will turn out. Wirt is forever worrying about his younger brother's wellbeing.
Positive Role Models
Wirt and Greg are as different as two brothers can be, but each brings some positive qualities to the mix. Wirt is cautious and deliberate, always keeping an eye out for potential danger. Greg is more carefree, which leads him into some sticky situations but also accounts for much of the fun that the two have along the way. Those they encounter are less easily read, and many who seem harmless turn out to be dangerous.
Violence & Scariness
Scary moments as two boys walk through dark woods inhabited by strange creatures. In one case, a snarling beast chases and threatens them before being caught in a mill (it's not shown, but it's implied that he was flattened in its mechanisms); in another, skeletons crawl out of graves. There's always the sense that something is lurking around the next bend. Injuries aren't common, but they do occur.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Over the Garden Wall is an animated fairy tale-style adventure series set in a magical forest filled with curious residents. There are some scary moments that are briefly perilous for the main characters and that may worry kids, although violence and injuries are very rare. The story hints at supernatural forces that can reincarnate the dead and create menacing beasts, for instance. Other magical influences are more comical than threatening. The characters' sibling relationship is protective and nurturing. Kids may not see the draw in this slow-paced adventure story, but older viewers will like the careful touches of classic folktales and artistic styles.
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Over the Garden Wall
Based on 15 parent reviews
Need to mention the voice talent...
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Over the Garden Wall was not for little kids
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What's the Story?
OVER THE GARDEN WALL is the adventurous tale of two brothers' journey through a magical forest to get back home. The story opens with Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) lost in a wood called the Unknown, which is home to a mysterious Beast (Samuel Ramey) that stalks the boys. With the help of an old Woodsman (Christopher Lloyd); a temperamental bluebird named Beatrice (Melanie Lynskey), who accompanies them to repay a favor they did for her; and Greg's loyal pet frog, Wirt and Greg set out to find Adelaide of the Pasture in the hopes that she can point them in the right direction. But every turn brings them face to face with the Unknown's mysterious residents, who often waylay their progress home.
Is It Any Good?
Over the Garden Wall blends comedy, whimsy, and touches of the horror genre in a unique 10-part animated miniseries. Its scares aren't the jump-out-of-your-skin type; they're more along the lines of The Twilight Zone in that they create the notion that even the most seemingly benign situations can hide frightful secrets. Because it's more suggestive than blatant, the show is more in tune with older kids' and tweens' interest level than it is for younger kids', but even adults will find something to like in its unique storytelling.
The show's most notable selling point is its visual appeal. The characters truly look the part of folksy fairy tale personalities, and their jaunts through the Unknown invoke images of classic adventurers such as Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks. It's fun to get swept up in Wirt and Greg's experiences, and the swirling cast of quirky people and creatures -- particularly snarky Beatrice -- keeps the content enticing as well.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about this show's target audience. Is it geared toward kids or an older crowd? What in the story makes you think so? Are there any positive messages you can glean from the boys' adventures?
Kids: Did any moments scare you in the show? Do you think its creators wanted to scare you? What kinds of content is most frightening to you? Is it ever hard for you to distinguish between what's real and what's fantasy?
In what ways did Wirt and Greg's relationship seem similar to your kids' with their siblings? Do they handle challenges well as a pair or a team? What kinds of activities do they enjoy together?
- Premiere date: November 3, 2014
- Cast: Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey, Collin Dean
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Award: Emmy
- Last updated: February 22, 2023
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