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The new Netflix series is a beautiful homage to Jim Henson’s movie, The Dark Crystal. The ten-episode fantasy series is a prequel to the iconic 1982 film that Henson considered one of his biggest successes. The reboot has a complex storyline but continues the same themes of climate change and genocide from the original.
It’s not a requirement to watch the film before the series, but Netflix makes it easy. Both the original and the prequel are available to stream on Netflix. Whether you watch the film before or after, you’ll appreciate the continuity and how the stories connect. Producers display an obvious reverence for Henson’s genius and his vision of the Thral universe.
The crystal contains a powerful life force being drained by dark forces. The story introduces viewers to the Gelflings - residents of the three main clans in the universe of Thra. The first is an underground colony that farms magical phosphorescent moss, the next community lives in a lush woodland area, and the last inhabits the high mountains. Each community suffers from the effects of the Darkening, a magically destructive form of climate change. The Gelflings are all under the influence of the villains that guard the crystal.
The Skeksis are evil, pustuled vultures that have been gaslighting the citizens of Thra for generations. The disgusting rulers cover themselves in robes and necklaces, all while demanding more tithes from the poor Gelflings. As with all villains, their evil seems to exude from their pores. The vile creatures drool, belch, whine, and cough constantly.
The adorable long-lashed Gelflings go on a series of heroes’ quests to save their clans. Three tiny heroes inspire their respective communities to resist the tyranny of the villains.
The all-star cast includes Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Nathalie Emmanuel, Awkwafina, Harvey Fierstein, Keegan-Michael Key, Benedict Wong, Jason Issacs, Helena Bonham Carter, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and more.
The series stands on its own two feet even if you haven’t watched the original. The producers and cast deliver a strong fantasy story, the message is powerful, and the creatures are a testament to Henson’s vision and genius. Add it to your watch list and enjoy!
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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