What is the story about?
Four gifted orphans are recruited by an eccentric benefactor to go on a secret mission to save the world from an nefarious villain. They are then placed in a school name The L.I.V.E Institution as undercover agents and soon they realise it is indeed upto them to save the planet.
The series based on the eponymous book is a nostalgic children's book. The villains and heroes have stun weapons, the kids are genuises and they prefer books to TV. The story revolves around the fact that the kids have to foil a plan that involves ruling the world by the unknown villains. The series often finds shorter and more interesting paths, without the usual cerebral gymnastics. The series is complemented by the visual opulence of the fantastic settings, the great casting, the quirky humor, the fleshed-out roles of the adult characters. The children too tend to grow on you, as the episodes progess. If the book wanted to celebrate the minds of children, then the adaptation appeals more to the connoisseur who can enjoy a film production in which everything fits and comes together to be more wholesome entertainment. There is a lot of quirkiness to this series and that can perhaps serve as a precedent for more children's books adaptations to be made interesting for even old, mature adults.
As Mr. Benedict, Tony Hale is both nervous and sincere with children and always finding humour in every scene, yet being sensitive and lovable. Hale also appears as Mr. Benedict's twin brother L.D. Curtain, head of the L.I.V.E. Institute. Where Mr. Benedict is warm, comforting fatherly figure, Dr. Curtain is menacing and manipulative. It is fun to see Tony Hale in a double-role with stark different personalities.
Along with Hale, the rest of the cast include Kristen Schaal and MaameYaa Boafo, who shine as Mr. Benedict's assistants, Number Two and Rhonda Kazembe. They have great chemistry and have great comic-timings. The child actors too are quite brilliant and are a joy to watch what with their antics.
Music & Other Departments
The music is spunky and quirky, just like the show. The sets are campy at times, opulent at others. It does have a 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events' feel to it, not story wise, but when it comes to the backdrops and the production values. Some of the props used in the show have bit of dystopia and an old-world charm to them.
Watch out for Tony Hale's brilliant double role.
The story and concept are quite unique
The child artists are too fantastic
Some continuity errors. For eg- Tony Hale's character has narcolepsy, but his disorder seems to disappear in the later episodes.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes I did. It was funny, witty and charming.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This is a short series with a lot of promise.