Today Hulu has released all ten episodes of the first season of the new animated adult comedy Crossing Swords. Patrick (Nicholas Hoult, The Great) has always felt like the black sheep of his family. Ever since he was a kid, he wanted to be a knight and help people, and prove himself to his parents (Breckin Meyer, Wendi McLendon-Covey). However, his older siblings were never as goodhearted, and always picked on him, or led him into trouble. Brother Ruben (Adam Ray) is now a bandit hiding out in the woods (he claims Robin Hood stole his look), sister Coral (Tara Strong) is a pirate queen, and brother Blarney (Tony Hale) is an alcoholic clown.
Once Patrick does finally land his dream job as squire, he quickly discovers that the kingdom is a corrupt, depraved and perverse place. King Merriman (Luke Evans) is running things into the ground for his own pleasure, his wife Queen Tulip (Alanna Ubach) is an always-horny woman on the prowl, and their daughter, Princess Blossom (Maya Erskine), is a spoiled and bratty teenager who only cares about herself. The castle also holds many other dark secrets. No matter how hard he tries to do good, Patrick always seems to mess things up, and his missions don’t quite go as planned (and someone or something always ends up dead).
While the characters in Crossing Swords may be the peg people toys that many of us played with as children, this is most certainly not a show for kids. It is filled with cursing, graphic violence, sex, and some full-frontal nudity (more male than female)—all resulting in a thoroughly-entertaining and hilarious good time. The characters are fun and fully-developed, and the dialogue is often quite witty and filled with fun pop-culture references. There are even a few musical numbers strewn out across the season. The episodes are serial in nature, but each also has its own self-contained mission or story-of-the-week. The writers have done an excellent job of having the characters grow and develop over the course of the season, and introduce some exciting and mysterious twists and turns. By the end of these ten episodes, the viewer is left anxious to see what happens next. I am really oping that we get a second season. Overall, the tone and way the story plays out reminded me a bit of Disenchanted, though with a lot more adult content.
The animation style is a lot like that of Robot Chicken, with three-dimensional toys being brought to life. The sets look rich, and animation is really well done, making this raucous medieval world and its residents feel real. The voice talent is fantastic. Besides the aforementioned main characters, the kingdom is filled with lots of zany recurring and guest characters. Patrick’s best friend and fellow squire is the dim-witted Broth (Adam Pally), and training the squires is the tough but kindhearted Sgt. Meghan (Yvette Nicole Brown). Also hanging out at the castle are wizard Blinkerquartz (Seth Green), plain chambermaid Sloane (Jameela Jamil), and rock musician Keefer (Ben Schwartz). The guest talent also includes Rob Corddry, Alfred Molina, and Natasha Lyonne.
This is a really fun show that’s definitely worth checking out, but it’s certainly not for younger viewers, despite the brightly-colored peg people.
Tonight, I’ll also be watching/recording Artemis Fowl and Trackers.