The Legacy of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman | Is it Worth the Binge?
Bojack Horseman debuted on Netflix back in 2014. It was one of the very first Netflix originals and lasted for seven seasons. Now that the show finished, I can truly say it is one of my all-time favorite series.
I never would’ve guessed that a show about a humanoid horse would have such a lasting impression on me. Bojack managed to depict depression, addiction, and social anxiety in surprisingly relatable ways.
The show follows Bojack, who is a washed-up celebrity trying to cling on to his fading fame as popular culture is passing him by. Bojack grapples with his past, his addiction to alcohol and drugs, and his mistreatment of the people closest to him.
At first glance, this show may seem like it is just another adult animated show, but when you dig a little deeper it is much more than that. From top to bottom, Bojack Horseman is extremely well made. The voice actors deliver convincing performances, the jokes are cutting, and the animation is one of a kind.
With all of the new shows debuting on Netflix, I wanted to take a moment to look back on one of the best shows the streaming service has ever made.
The Cast And Crew
Part of what made Bojack so special was the cast and crew that made it. The voice cast was full of very talented actors. Will Arnett gave an awesome performance as the titular character. Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, and Paul F. Tompkins helped to create an incredible ensemble performance.
The show was created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, who really had not worked on anything nearly as big before this. His first major project turned out so good, I will definitely be keeping an eye on what he works on next.
While the overall production is excellent, the highlight of the show is Will Arnett’s performance as Bojack. I can’t help but think that Will injected some of his own personal histories into the character’s development.
Arnett’s emotional delivery feels so authentic that it makes the series stand out from similar adult animated shows. Will Arnett has been pretty open about his past with alcohol, and it seems like this character is a way for him to deal with some of that.
Overall, the cast and crew all put in excellent work. From the animation to the voice acting, Bojack Horseman was clearly made by a very talented cast.
Creativity on Full Display
One of the best parts of Bojack Horseman is the wild swings the series takes. The show is not afraid at all to do completely out of the ordinary things.
One episode that sticks out to me is when Bojack must deliver a eulogy at a funeral for someone close to him. The entire episode is just a single monologue delivered by Will Arnett. There aren’t any jokes or witty conversations between two side characters. It is simply just a 30-minute monologue that is quite emotional.
This episode is just one example of the boldness this series features. The episode is incredibly well written, and Will Arnett’s performance brings it home. But it is just a highlight of the show’s creativity.
In another episode, the entire story takes place in an underwater fish city. The main characters are wearing oxygen tanks and glass helmets. All of the dialogue is muffled as if they were recording underwater. You can barely make out certain words, and the show must find other ways to tell the story.
Over and over again, Bojack Horseman pushes the boundaries of what an animated show can be. One moment it will have you laughing out loud, and the next you will be thinking about something existential.
It reminds me of Futurama in a lot of ways, another show that wasn’t afraid to take big chances. Both shows take full advantage of being an animated show. Switching art styles, and balancing between comedy and drama make this series so special.
Bojack Horseman showed this type of creativity from start to finish. All seven seasons had at least one episode that was completely out of the box, and it made this show one of a kind.
The Emotional Layers
Another major aspect of this show that made it incredible is the emotional complexity of each main character. Bojack struggling with depression and his past was the emotional core of the series, but all of the side characters had interesting emotional beats as well.
The emotional core of Bojack Horseman was the struggles of humanity. It covered a wide spectrum of human complexities. Mr.Peanut Butter, voiced by Paul F. Tompkins, was the emotional foil to Bojack. Both characters went through a full transformation over the seven seasons, and it is a beautiful depiction of growth.
While Bojack struggled with depression and pushing people away, Mr.Peanut Butter struggled with commitment and maintaining a healthy relationship.
The show approached emotional struggles with a good understanding of how these problems look in a realistic and relatable way.
Bojack Horseman also worked all seven seasons to tell a compelling story about redemption. Bojack made a lot of mistakes and hurt those around him. The show managed to hold Bojack accountable for those mistakes and showed a nuanced story about recovery.
Bojack came to a satisfying close, and it is bittersweet. I wish there was more of this show, but it is nice to have a series stick the landing.
The final season still had sharp jokes all the way through, while also balancing a deeply emotional core. I hope shows in the future can use Bojack Horseman as an excellent example for out of the box creativity.
The series will always be one of my all-time favorites because it is so original. I can’t wait to see what these creators work on in the future. And bravo to Netflix for letting such an odd show continue until the proper ending.
While the series did win awards and critical success, I still don’t think it gets the proper admiration it deserves. I hope more people check this show out, and it can get the praise it should rightfully have.