Come Venture Into the Wood: A Look At Over the Garden Wall


Over the Garden Wall is an animated miniseries that aired in 2014 on Cartoon Network that follows two stepbrothers, Wirt and Greg, as they traverse a mysterious forest known as The Unknown. Along the way, they meet many quirky and interesting characters that have their own unspoken goal, like the mysterious Woodsman or Beatrice, the talking bluebird. With only ten episodes in the series, you can find out the fate of these in under two hours. 

Over the Garden Wall is originally based on a short film called Tome of the Unknown made by the show’s creator, Patrick McHale. The show came about as a result of Cartoon Network’s shorts development program. The animation and storyboarding were done in Burbank California at the home of Cartoon Network Studios. 

The script of Over the Garden Wall, while slightly bizarre, manages to be extremely thought-provoking and shows emotional complexity.  You can see the strain that being in the Unknown has on the brothers’ relationship. The dialogue is natural and feels like true interactions that characters at this age would be having. The story encapsulates the physical and emotional journey of the boys and the companions you meet along the way in such a manner that it leaves the audience wanting more. Towards the beginning of the show, the plot does not follow a linear pattern but shows the venture through the woods as disorienting and confusing at first so the audience can feel the emotions that Wirt and Greg did when they found themselves in this strange situation. The end of the series is satisfying and provides enough closure that it feels like a complete story but allows them to fill in some gaps in their head without stating them blatantly. I personally feel that the script was immersive and very well written. 

Being an animated show, Over the Garden wall employed the service of many talented voice actors. One of these actors is Elijah Wood, most known for his work as Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. Wood takes on the role of Wirt in the miniseries. Previously, Wood has done voice acting for video games such as Spyro but this was his first time doing a project like Over the Garden Wall. Wirt’s Stepbrother Greg is played by rookie voice actor, Collin Dean. This was also Dean’s first-time voice acting for an animated series at nine years old. These voice actors breathe genuine life into both of these characters that make the show a true masterpiece.

Personally, Over the Garden Wall has always been one of my favorite shows. The gorgeous artwork combined with the memorable soundtrack truly creates an unforgettable experience for the viewer. Many of the fans of the show, including me, rewatch it every fall season to relive the beautiful autumn aesthetic that Over the Garden Wall uses to make the atmosphere eerie but also oddly comforting. The setting of Unknown allows viewers to immerse themselves into a world of pastoral fantasy that is impossible to forget. With an 8.8/10 on IMDb and a rating of 93% fresh on rotten tomatoes, it is popular opinion that Over the Garden Wall is a piece of art like no other and I highly recommend taking two hours out of your day during the fall season to experience this unique adventure.