'The Mysterious Benedict Society' Review: An uneven, but thoroughly enjoyable Disney+ show
The latest show from Disney+, titled ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’, is peculiar in many ways. However, it manages to capture your imagination with amazing storytelling and stunning visuals. Based on the novel of the same name by Trenton Lee Stewart, the show revolves around four gifted orphans who are recruited by Mr. Benedict for a dangerous mission to save the world from a global crisis known as The Emergency. Reynie (Mystic Inscho), Sticky (Seth Carr), Kate (Emmy DeOliveira), and Constance (Marta Kessler) must get inside the L.I.V.E. Institute to discover the truth behind the dangerous situation. The group learns that Dr. Curtain is behind the crisis, the kids of ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ develop a plan to defeat him.
The first two episodes of the show on the streaming platform merely cover the earliest stages of the mission. So, it is really tough to judge the entire show on the basis of those episodes. However, there are a lot of things that look promising and can make this show a success for the streaming platform. The starting credits for the show make you realize how peculiar this project is going to be. It is refreshing and set to a tune that will surely put a smile on your face.
The first episode mainly focuses on Reynie Muldoon (Mystic Inscho), an orphan whose intelligence makes him an outsider. Other kids never understand him and the kind of words he uses, make them believe that he is weird. His only friend is his teacher Ms. Perumal (Gia Sindhu), who is encouraging him to take admission into a highly prestigious boarding school. Reynie goes on to take a series of bizarre tests and finds himself in the company of children who are no different than him.
The tests will immediately make you forget everything and you will be engrossed in the series. However, it will also make you realize that the tests are not for any academic purposes.
Four students make the cut and they meet Mr. Benedict (Tony Hale). They soon get to know that they were put through those series of weird tests because of the ongoing global catastrophe called “The Emergency.” The show seems to be set in an era where there are no mobile phones or computers and everything else is all retro.
Meanwhile, the second episode is all about how the kids are introduced to the problem and give themselves the name of ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’. In episode 2, it is also learned that the chaotic situation is caused by an evil force adding hidden messages to TV and radio broadcasts. The messages are being originated from a boarding school called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.). Things go good to extraordinary when they enter the institute as undercover agents and are given the task to find the source of those hidden signals.
Just like any other Disney+ series, the second episode ends in a cliffhanger and makes everyone curious about what is going to happen in the future episodes.
The storytelling of the first two episodes is good and requires active attention. The episodes are not flawless, but the story remains faithful to the source material. In the end, they will be really happy with what they just witnessed — there are many things to appreciate.
The children’s performances are good, but it could have been better. Seth Carr is the best of the lot and looks cute while portraying the character of Sticky. But the other child actors struggle to find that emotional connection with the fans and we hope that they will continue to grow as the story progresses. Meanwhile, Tony Hale, who plays Mr. Benedict and Mr. Curtain, is the best thing to have happened to the show. He mesmerizes us with his acting whenever he is on the screen.
All in all, the first two episodes might not be flawless, but they are surely intriguing. For now, the delightful premise of the show will surely convince you to keep watching and it is one of those adventures that will surely get better as the story progresses.
‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ returns to Disney+ every Friday with a new episode.