Dead End: Paranormal Park review – Hamish Steele’s new series is scarily good

Netflix Dead End Alley: Paranormal Park is an animated adaptation of Hamish Steele DeadEndia graphic novel, but the new show’s first season is also a shining example of the magic queer creators can work when they have the resources and freedom to tell their own stories. Nonetheless dead ends The story about rebellious teens who find themselves sucked into the paranormal happenings of a haunted theme park is distinctly its own, its existence a testament to the impact other recent progressive-minded cartoons have had. had in modern animation.

No shows like Steven Universe, She-Re and the Princesses of Power, and the owl houseNetflix End of the line probably wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be as capable of being the big-hearted, emotionally intelligent, all-ages prank that he is. The creative team behind End of the line knows this to be true, and they’re not afraid to show it in their work, which is just one of the reasons the series feels like something worth investing in.

Norma, Barney and Courtney
Netflix

Much like the graphic novels – which were inspired by the 2014 Cartoon Hangover End of the line written by Steele – Netflix End of the line tells the story of Barney (Zach Barack), a shy but friendly teenager who comes out as trans is part of what drives him to leave his childhood home in search of a place where he feels he truly belongs. While Barney’s family loves him, amidst the changes in his life and their uncertainty about whether they can accept him for who he is, it seems easier for him to run from his emotional demons than to face them head on, a trait that many dead ends main characters share.

Anxious hypochondriac Norma (Kody Kavitha) knows her family only wants the best for her and that she could work on her interpersonal skills, but it’s hard for her to open up to outsiders when she finds opportunities to talk about movie star Pauline Phoenix. (Coconut Peru). Although Pauline is long dead as End of the line begins, his legacy lives on at a local theme park, and it’s a fateful job opening at the decidedly haunted attraction that first brings Norma, Barney and their dog Pugsley (Alex Brightman) together at the moment when their lives take a supernatural turn.

in the world of End of the line, most dogs don’t talk, but after Pugsley is possessed during Barney and Norma’s joint visit to Phoenix Parks, he is given the ability to speak, and this only slightly alarms his human friends because it’s just one of the weird things that happen there. Long before Pugsley speaks, he and the others learn firsthand how Phoenix Parks is plagued by demons like Courtney Hellboy (Emily Osment) and hordes of rotten mascots plucked straight out of cheesy horror movies. After years of disturbing hauntings, hardly anyone in town with common sense wants anything to do with Phoenix Parks. But the presence of the supernatural is precisely what makes it a dream come true for Norma – a horror movie fan – and Barney – someone determined to live anywhere but under her parents’ roof.

End of the line introduces its players and introduces its premise in the first 15 minutes of its 30-minute debut episode and quickly settles into a pace that falls somewhere between that of Disney gravity drop and Cartoon Network Foster House for Imaginary Friends. dead ends the opening scenes make it clear that the show intends to take its time as it carefully reveals new pieces of a larger mystery, occasionally David Lynchian over Pauline’s death as the season progresses. But each dead ends 10 episodes also function as interconnected explorations of the feelings all young people deal with when they are starting out on their own.

Badyah, Norma, Courtney, Pugsley, Barney and Logs
Netflix

Barney being trans is an important part of who he is and Dead End: Paranormal Park history, but the show’s weirdness manifests itself more in moments of celebration of queer pop culture than typical repetitions of traumatic queer narratives. When End of the line isn’t playing with horror genre classics across the park, it’s highlighting a drag icon through characters like Pauline and hammering home the idea that love and community are things people really need to work on to keep within their found families.

It is impossible to ignore the irony of Dead End Alley: Paranormal Park be a Netflix project or come at a time when the streamer has decided to publish stories with hateful messages about queer people – trans people in particular. Simply by existing in all its strangeness, End of the line illustrates the good that comes from countless people pushing for animation to become more expansive and inclusive of LGBTQ stories and the people whose lived experiences inspire them.

It’s not that Dead End Alley: Paranormal Park isn’t working hard to achieve all of that, but at the end of this first season, you get the feeling that this isn’t even all the show could be. Dead End Alley: Paranormal Park it has even more to offer if and when Netflix sees fit to renew it for another batch of episodes, and while it’s in the network’s hands, the decision it must make is obvious.

End of the line is now streaming on Netflix.

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