Apple TV+’s latest is an animated offering called Central Park. It is the brainchild of Loren Bouchard. Given that Apple TV+ has just begun its run, the content airing on it so far seems amazing. We started Apple TV+ with The Morning Show starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon. Now we shall visit an animated show that is very Rick and Morty / The Simpson-ish.
If you are a Bob Burgers and/or a musical fan, this one’s your gift. Now why we mentioned Bob Burgers because the show comes from the same creator Loren Bouchard. The cast of the show includes the likes of Stanley Tucci, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and Josh Gad. So far, so good. the voice cast of Central Park is pretty brilliant. Ah, we couldn’t be more excited about Stanley Tucci. His presence on the show alone makes us want to tune in. Don’t judge us, we are big Stanley Tucci fans. The other megastars who feature as voice-over artists on Central Park include Leslie Odom Jr., Kristen Bell. Honestly, there is a huge cast ensemble. But for now, we will stick to naming these.
So, what’s the story about? Well, Central Park is a carefully curated musical. As the name suggests, it definitely has to do with New York’s Central Park. The theme is or the focus of the show is to explore imbalanced interactions between people/ visitors of the park. In short, it is about a whole bunch of people in the park where their private lives and public lives collide. Having said that, the format of the series is predominantly musical. So to say, Central Park is a musical dealing with the lives of the visitors to the park. Interesting concept, innit? It also is quintessentially New York in another way, in that it isn’t just any other musical but it is a Broadway musical. Seriously, how New York-ish can the series get? The length of Central Park stretched for over 25 minutes. There are dialogues interspersed with the musical bit, but the last few minutes of the show are the most noteworthy. Especially, the fact that the last bit take prominence and control of everything you saw for the last 22 minutes or so. Please note that we’re doing our best not to spoil the show for you. This is absolutely a spoiler-free review.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, that musicals and the animated show aren’t such a great formula for success. Come to think of it, it absolutely is. You may have been put off by Cop Rock or loved it, we do not know for sure. But this one does things a tad bit differently. For one, the voice-over cast deserves due praise. That combined with Loren Bouchard and there, you have the recipe for success. Besides modern musicals are very different from those of the ’90s, we know that pretty damn well.
The story goes something like this–there is the Tillerman family residing in the Evendell Castle, somewhere in the Central Perk. This castle is looked after by paterfamilias Owen (Odom Jr.), who is the caretaker. Owen resides with his wife and his children, i.e. his family. his wife is Paige (Kathryn Hahn), daughter is Molly (Kristen Bell), and his son is Cole (Tituss Burgess). Here’s where you know the cast of the show is a pretty fantastic one. Tituss Burgess, Kristen Bell, and Odom Jr. come from significant musical backgrounds. Odom has featured in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton as Aaron Burr. Kristen Bell has done a lovely musical movie called The Frozen. Burgess and Hahn have commendable work profiles, too. Hahn’s role as journalist Paige is worth mentioning here. What makes the whole thing a compelling watch is a fictional set up of it. A fictional castle in Central Park, commissioned by the government of New York. Wow.
Let’s talk about the Royal Tillerman family. Starting off with Josh Gad, he acts as the producer of the series. He comes from Frozen and The Book of Mormon franchise. Josh plays a local, temporarily associated with the place. His name is Birdie. The series is mostly narrated in his voice. Stanley Tucci plays a petite and conniving rich woman named Bitsy Brandenhamm. Daveed Diggs plays Bitsy’s assistant Helen.
We have a melting pot of a terrific voice ensemble cast and a Broadway format. All episodes won’t premiere on the same day, as it happens with streaming services, mostly Netflix. Apple TV+ plans to stream three episodes in one week, after which a traditional one episode, one in one week will be released. Central Park will debut the first two episodes on May 29, followed by one episode, one week. The plot of the debut episode has something to do with the flowers. The second one is on the practicality of trash pickup in Central Park. Since it is the musical format, each episode promises to be a banger. And thank god for the weekly schedule, can you imagine all of the musicals come out at once? Would have totally ruined the experience for binge-watchers, such as myself. This way each song will be praised individually and we as reviewers can take our time with the show.
Our biggest scare right now is to not see Central Park turned into a drag of a show. We don’t think that will happen with the careful curation done on this one. Have you seen how thrilled Bob’s Burgers fans are for this one? If all goes well, the show will be probably the first serialized musical on television that goes down well with the audiences. This is where we bank on the amazing star cast of the show. The relationship between public and private places, as it will be explored, interspersed with song numbers, won’t be so bad, after all. We think we hope. There’s those who visit the park and there are those who live in a castle and those who take care of it.