June 1, 2020

CABLE | A Musical Family – Singin' in 'Central Park' on Apple TV+

"It's central in my heart!"
Kristen Bell Tituss Burgess Kathryn Hahn Josh Gad Loren Bouchard | Central Park | Apple TV Plus
20th Century Fox Television
Bob's Burgers creator Loren Bouchard has teamed up with comedian Josh Gad—a co-creator here who also serves as the series' narrator Birdie—to create a full-on animated musical comedy series about a group of quirky New Yorkers' love for their titular Central Park. Despite a genuinely joyful appeal featuring a highly talented cast involved and equally ambitious scope, there's just so much jam-packed into it right off the bat to really get into right away.

With the general look and feel of usual primetime animation fare, the jazzy show's breakneck pace is dizzying even once you get used to all the exhilaration. The first episode starts immediately into its upbeat original songs and choreographed dance sequences while simultaneously jumping into the inner thoughts of our cast of characters as they're being introduced and expressed through music or alternate comic book style animated panels.

Central Park's unique kind of craft is what sets it apart as we get a sense of the series' huge ideas and aims of high entertainment. Starring the vocal talents of many including Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Kathryn Hahn, and Leslie Odom Jr. as the protagonist mixed-race Tillerman family, it feels hard to initially get to know all the individual characters and their big kooky personalities before everything comes together and the serialized over-arching plot unfolds.

It's not easy to get a sense of where Central Park is headed just yet. You can easily see how great it can be with its high production value and catchy songs, but so far, it has too much to juggle. We need time to get to know the Tillermans the same way we love the Belchers. Nonetheless, the show is still very much aggressively wholesome and pleasant entertainment with some truly fun musical moments throughout.

Central Park's ten-episode first season is available to stream weekly on Apple TV+.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Indiewire / Polygon

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