"The Great North" "The Great North"

Fox’s Animation Domination block is welcoming a new show. The Great North may be set in semi-rural Alaska, but otherwise it doesn’t stray too far from the network’s adult animation line-up. The series officially premieres on Sunday, with two episodes having already aired as previews in January.

The Great North follows the Tobins, an eccentric family in the Alaskan town of Lone Moose, as they embark on a series of curious adventures. So far, so Fox sitcom — sure enough, reviewers compare it to the network’s best-known animated comedies, particularly Bob’s Burgers.

That’s no surprise: The Great North was created by Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, veteran writers and producers on Bob’s Burgers, as well as Minty Lewis (a writer and storyboard artist on Cartoon Network’s Regular Show). The series shares an animation studio — Bento Box Entertainment — with Bob’s Burgers, whose creator Loren Bouchard is an executive producer here.

The series, which has already been renewed for a second season, is produced by Disney’s 20th Television. The voice cast is led by Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, and Will Forte.

It has been well received by critics. Here’s what they’re saying:

Caroline Framke opens her broadly positive Variety review by comparing the series to Bob’s Burgers:

With that team behind it, The Great North eases into a gentle, oddball brand of comedy that initially makes it more charming than outright hilarious. There’s enough talent behind the show, however, that The Great North should have no problem growing into a worthy addition to the venerable animation block it’s joining.

Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich gives the series an A- grade, praising its oddball writing:

Minty Lewis, North’s third co-creator, worked on Regular Show, which was one of the standout entries in Cartoon Network’s 2010s renaissance of safe-for-kids surreality. That bizarro spirit explains why the four episodes I’ve seen of North are willfully random, to a degree that might surprise even Bob’s obsessives. (The pilot requires more than one flare gun.) But these are rich characters in absurd situations full of quotable dialogue.

On RogerEbert.com, Brian Tallerico argues that the series is still finding its feet, but shows promise:

In the [first four episodes], some of the Tobins still feel a little undefined and I’m waiting for the voice cast and writers to gel a little better, but I’m pretty certain that’s going to happen before the end of year one. And the one thing that’s so nice to see even in these early formative days is that none of the jokes on The Great North feel cheap or predictable. The humor here is unexpected and often clever in a way that distinguishes it from other modern animated shows. Well, at least from everything but Bob’s Burgers and Central Park [another Bento Box production].

Writing in The New York Times, James Poniewozik identifies the show’s essential warmth:

Like Bob’s (whose oddball sweetness and goggle-eyed art it shares), this is a comedy about the sort of family that gets mislabeled “dysfunctional” but is actually hyperfunctional. So where some family sitcoms draw conflict from the characters’ getting on one another’s nerves, here it comes from their closeness.

Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter notes that it’s too early to tell exactly how the series will relate to its setting:

There’s plenty of room for more specificity, mind you, especially when it comes to better honoring the indigenous population of Alaska. One episode includes Judy acknowledging those original owners of the land and I think Lone Moose has a Native mayor. That’s a side of the Alaskan reality that The Great North probably needs to embrace, since very little in these initial [four] episodes couldn’t have taken place in the nebulous coastal community where Bob’s Burgers is set.

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