Adapted from Nathan W. Pyle’s bestselling “Strange Planet” books, Apple TV+ brings forth a new cartoon show that serves a platter full of insightful jokes and life lessons. Strange Planet (Season 1) is adorable and straightforward, avoiding excessive preachiness. It features the joy in life’s small moments while also addressing tragedies and absurdities through a comedic lens.

The approach is gentle, with the setting taking us to a whimsical planet inhabited by balloon-headed aliens who look like tiny light bulbs with no defined gender. They refer to each other using they/them pronouns and engage in refreshingly honest conversations about their feelings, a rarity among humans. The world’s language is characterized by humorous and odd definitions, such as a kiss being cutely described as a “mouth push” and teeth as a “mouth stone.” 

The series exudes a delightful quirkiness, painting its world with pastel hues and populating it with diminutive blue aliens who refer to each other as “beings” and various animals as “creatures.” Infused with warmth and gentleness, the series adeptly addresses existential anxieties in a hopeful manner. It seamlessly incorporates frequently used terms among human adults, such as “adulting” and “feelings,” thereby serving as a practical guide to navigating the complexities of adulthood, capable of bringing out emotions based on the viewer’s own state of mind.

In one episode, a bus driver humorously instructs a passenger to scream as a way to remind themselves to find comfort. The characters unabashedly express their emotions, face terrifying situations without concern for consequences, and approach life with an unfettered perspective. Each 20-25 minute episode contains scenes that provoke chuckles as they highlight how easily things can be achieved without overcomplicating matters.

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The show reassuringly conveys that feeling lost or sad sometimes is alright. It emphasizes the importance of taking the initiative to rectify situations and accepting that if circumstances don’t improve, it’s acceptable to acknowledge one’s fate. Importantly, the series encourages embracing these emotions genuinely rather than resorting to self-deception.

Co-created by Pyle with Dan Harmon, might evoke memories of Don Hertzfeldt’s masterpiece “World of Tomorrow.” However, it distinguishes itself with its good-natured tone, blending life’s eccentricities with punch lines that emphasize the need to navigate through its oddities (that also reminded me of Hulu’s Not Dead Yet, which also approached dealing with human emotions and daily life struggles as an adult).

A still from Strange Planet, Season 1, Episode 1.
A still from Strange Planet, Season 1, Episode 1.

Every episode begins with a background monologue detailing day-to-day experiences, setting the stage for that particular storyline. It could involve anything from the drama between two best friends to an unpleasant incident at work, instantly resonating with what each of us goes through on a regular basis. 

Leaving no space for complex conversations, it effortlessly delves into the commonplace aspects of life that humans often overlook in daily discussions or might only engage in when overwhelmed by circumstances.

The Apple series premiered with three episodes and begins with a slow start; however, once you delve into their world filled with self-aware humor, you’re in for a pleasant time. The beings within this world dissect ‘human’ impulses with a remarkably strong and clear observational commentary. While the traditions and feelings of these blue beings resemble those of humans, they display slight advancement due to their wise personalities. I particularly appreciate that “Strange Planet (Season 1)” refrains from introducing characters with names or backgrounds. If you pay attention, recurring characters become instantly recognizable across episodes, even though they all look identical, with only minor differences like a scarf, hat, or sock marking how they look.

Despite experiencing a range of emotions, these characters remain calm and approachable, making it easy to connect with them. “Strange Planet” boasts a fantastic voice cast, including Tunde Adebimpe, Demi Adejuyigbe, Lori Tan Chinn, Danny Pudi, and Hannah Einbinder, bringing life into these blue beings with voices that provide comfort and reassurance.

The show’s message conveys that life will be alright, whether or not things unfold as you imagine. Through Pyle’s signature comic strip format and the use of literalistic vocabulary, the series takes a playful jab at our real-life nonsense and societal expectations. It also offers insights into managing overwhelming emotions when things unexpectedly turn inconvenient. “Strange Planet” is a welcome escape for those wrestling with sensory overload. This minimalist comedy series delivers relief through its blend of silliness, cuteness, and gentleness, making it worth your time.

Read More: The 20 Best Apple Original Films, Ranked

Strange Planet (Season 1) Links: IMDb
Strange Planet (Season 1) Voice Cast: James Adomian, Cedric Yarbrough, Beth Stelling, Danny Pudi
Where to watch Strange Planet

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