The Mysterious Benedict Society, an American mystery-adventure television series based on a quartet of children’s books by Trenton Lee Stewart, is an assuaging treat for both children and adults alike. It feels like an all-around show that piques your and your family’s interest at a time when only a few movies and shows suited to the needs of people of all ages are produced.
The series stars Tony Hale as Mr. Nicholas Benedict, who creates a society of four children to stop a global emergency. Hale also plays Benedict’s twin brother, Mr. L. D. Curtain, whose philosophies serve as the series’ antagonist.The first (June 2021) and second (October 2022) seasons of the series premiered on Disney+.
Curtain creates an artificial state of emergency and anxiety in people in the first season, but in the second season he uses a method to induce artificial happiness in humans.Hence, the drawbacks of scientific technology (its shortcomings and its wrong use in the hands of malevolent forces), among other significant issues, have been highlighted in both seasons. Due to the multiple facets of this series, it would be worthwhile to suggest it.
The four main kid characters are: Reynie Muldoon (played by Mystic Inscho) is logical, thinks critically, and is good at solving puzzles; George Washington (played by Seth Carr) has an eidetic memory and is a walking encyclopaedia of geography; Kate Wetherall (played by Emmy De Oliveira) is athletic and audacious, always carrying a red bucket of useful tools; and finally Constance Contraire (played by Marta Kessler) is reticent, incredibly stubborn, and has psychic powers to read minds.
One main thing in the series is the representation of orphans and their psychological situation—how orphans crave love, appreciation, and attention while also going through trauma and anxiety. L. D. Curtain gets separated from his twin brother at an orphanage, and his inner trauma and yearning for love manifest themselves in his becoming a malefactor. And later, whatever he does is to gain the attention and appreciation of people, especially his brother. Similarly, all four kids are orphans, and their loneliness has been depicted in the first season.
Secondly, the significance of family, friendships, and teamwork in the series serves as a lesson for the young audience. The four very disparate kids come together to form an unlikely but strong bond, and with the elders of the Benedict Society, they form a family of their own.
Also, the scientific technology and hypnotization used for slipping anxious or happy emotions or thoughts into people’s minds in the series kind of reminds us of Michel Foucault’s discursive practices, or Antonio Gramsci’s hegemony, or Louis Althusser’s interpellation, according to which the state (or some entity) imposes its thoughts upon the citizens, who, on the contrary, think that they are freely choosing them.
The overall aesthetics of the series are satisfying with the use of specific bright, popping colour combinations that catch your eye instantly. The musical theme of the series is intriguing too. The setting takes you to some sunny European town with its narrow streets, little, colourful houses, and open green-gold fields of the countryside. To conclude, the series works on a number of imperative issues while at the same time being quite appealing to most of the viewers.