Even though the year is drawing to an end, ‘Milo Murphy’s Law’ has already set itself as one of 2016’s series to watch
Anyone familiar with the work of Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh would undoubtably have high expectations for their latest creation, and it is great to see the dynamic duo have not lost their touch on ‘Milo Murphy’s Law’. Keeping with their signature aesthetic and upbeat atmosphere of the Emmy-winning ‘Phineas and Ferb’, this original series gives an all new spin on the concept of continual misfortune which, through threatening to grow stale quickly, is backed by a creative team who can no doubt steer the series through the waters of originality as each new episode comes to air.
Produced by Disney XD, ‘Milo Murphy’s Law’ follows the story of Milo Murphy, the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake, who is the personification of Murphy’s Law - where anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Milo is prepared for every possibility, armed with knowledge, a backpack of supplies, and an endless sense of optimism and enthusiasm that can turn any catastrophe into an adventure. In each 22-minute episode, comprised of two 11-minute stories, Milo, along with his best friends Zack and Melissa, find ways to think outside of the box while enjoying life’s obstacles.
With the first episode having now aired, an important factor to stress is that the potential of the series should not be based solely on the debut segment. This first story, titled “Going the Extra Milo”, is valuable is establishing the universe, but presents less of the complexities seen in the following segment, “The Undergrounders”, and thus may mislead fans into believing the series is simply a string of bad events masquerading as art. This, while entertaining, would give far less character development and interesting story arcs than is suggested by later episodes and undermines the true core of the production. However, even the continual chain of catastrophe’s are of a unique origin and speak to the originality of the creative team who written works that are both endearing to watch and unexpected in their details, even if the overall notion of bad luck is highly predictable.
With a cast led by Al Yankovic it is no surprise that the series is infused with an essence of great comedy and instantly memorable music. It is not only the writing itself which caters well to both the younger and more advanced comedic senses, but the delivery of the lines which hit with perfect timing. Accompanying Yankovic are some of the industry’s most notable and gifted voice artists including Christian Slater, Sarah Chalke, Vanessa Williams, Jemaine Clement, Diedrich Bader, Dee Bradly Baker, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Sabrina Carpenter.
In these first 22 minutes alone, you sense the distinctive personalties between the characters, each utilised to great extent regardless of their recurring or guest status, with particular nods to the hilarious, yet slightly delusional, “undergrounder” Scott. It is further inspiring to see that once again Povenire and Marsh have given great diversity to the cast of characters, a simple trait that is sadly too uncommon in many leading children’s series.
It would be all to easy to make comparisons between ‘Milo’ and ‘Phineas and Ferb’ as both contain that same air of an instant classic, but anything beyond this would be largely unsubstantiated. ‘Milo’ very much stands on its own too feet, carving its own brand of comedy, characters, relationships, and style that is several paces from the “standard” animated series. Though ‘Phineas’ was renown for catering to the adult viewer, the fact that ‘Milo’ is based towards an older age group allows the team to push these concepts further and, in doing so, makes ‘Milo’ a perfect series to be watched by the entire family.
Having only released one episode, there is the looming fear that the concept of the series and its basis on misfortune will grow tiresome, but if anyone can pull off such originality it is the Povemire/Marsh duo and their associated creative team. Even though the year is drawing to an end, ‘Milo Murphy’s Law’ has already set itself as one of 2016’s series to keep a close eye on.