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Wonderfalls: The Complete Series (2004)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)

8.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Comedy Drama, Family Drama, Fantasy Comedy, Prime-Time Drama
The show centers on Jaye Tyler, a recent Brown University graduate with a philosophy degree, who holds a dead-end job as a sales clerk at a Niagara Falls gift shop. Jaye is the reluctant participant in conversations with various animal figurines - a wax lion, brass monkey, stuffed bear, and mounted fish, among others - which direct her via oblique instructions to help people in need. --TMDb
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Review by Griffinheart
Added: September 05, 2008
Wonderfalls is a neat show that I stumbled across because Netflix figured out that I like shows that were cancelled in their first season. Maybe I enjoy searching for those gems in the rough, or maybe one of my college roommates said it best with "You have an appreciation for crap that astounds me." Either way, Wonderfalls was an entertaining viewing.

Jaye Tyler was a bright but introverted girl who graduated from college with a degree in psychology and then followed the path that many psychologists do: get a trailer house and work as a retail clerk in a crappy store. While surrounded by loving/overbearing parents, Jaye only wants to slide through life in her hometown of Niagra Falls with a minimum of resistance. After all, if you do nothing, no one will expect anything from you. And, this plan works until life begins expecting her to do things...things told to her by inanimate animals (statues, paintings, stuffed animals - any non-and-never-living animal with a mouth).

Jaye to a wax lion: "Who are you? Are you God? Satan? If you don't answer in five seconds, I'm going to assume you're Satan."

When Jaye resists the voices, bad things begin to happen. This combined with their incessant singing all through the night wears her down until she does everything she is told. Then, despite pain and humiliation usually being the intermediate steps, Jaye's actions begin to change the world for the better...but, the animals keep talking to her...and talking...and talking...Jaye is only kept sane by leaning on her supporting cast of friends and family until she comes to grip with what is either a gift or a mark of insanity.

Jaye: "Your ass is ringing."
Eric: "It rings a lot."
Jaye: "What's the point of having an ass if you don't answer it?"

Aaron, Jaye's brother, to a therapist: "My sister is convinced that inanimate objects are talking to her."
Therapist: "Do you want them to be talking to her?"
Aaron: "No! They just won't stop!"
Therapist scribbles "Brother = schizophrenic" in a notebook.

The main highpoint of this series is the dialogue. A lot of it is brilliantly written and well delivered. Several actors do, on occasion, overact their parts, but it usually meshes well with the bizarre happenings of every episode. What can be annoying, though, is the heavy handedness that the animals bring to the plot. Yes, every scripted show has an invisible hand guiding the characters through their actions, but these animals bring that hand into a clearly visible zone, which can be rather annoying. Luckily, seeing the hand isn't too abrasive on the good episodes (which constitute a bulk of the, albeit short, series). When you happen upon a bad episode, though...you'll want to start mangling inanimate objects just to keep your hands busy so you won't snap the DVD in half. Here's some advice: if you like the first episode, either skip or suffer through the rest of the episodes on the first disc; the rest of the series is generally much better. Oh, and one more aside about the plots: most seem to have been written in a vacuum as there is zero reference to the happenings of one episode in any other (if the family has a maid that is at the house almost every hour of the day, why is she only seen in one episode?).

The series was cut short in its first season with a run of only 13 episodes. Thankfully, the writers knew the series was getting canceled and filled the last couple episodes with great plots that tied up all of the loose ends. Also, for you Firefly fans, Jewel Staite, who played Kaylee in Whedon's series, is in the last four episodes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show, but it felt like the good episodes were weighed down by the bad ones. When the series first started going downhill with episode two, I thought, "Man, if they just would have given this idea to Joss Whedon, he would have put vampires in here, and it would have kicked ass." The series did get better as it went on, and I was sad to see it go.

Wonderfalls - 7.5/10.
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George Snow #1: George Snow - added 09/16/2008, 10:46 PM
I LOVED this show.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 09/27/2008, 07:53 AM
Seconding Geroge. Fantastic, show, for what it was. Started watching it when it first premiered and and h ave wanted to stomp on Fox ever since for canceling it. Talking quarter... hehehe...
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