By Jack McLaughlin
Arts & Features Editor
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” was not something I was gleaming with excitement for initially.
The unimpressive trailers and looming threat of one of the best graphic novels series being adapted by Netflix had me convinced that this was going to be a flop and disappoint the inner fan in me.
But - wow, it pays off to be wrong.
The story of Scott Pilgrim defeating Ramona Flowers’ League of Evil Exes has a brand new reimagining that differentiates from the source material so much that it’s an entirely different story.
For any Scott Pilgrim fan - it’s a perfect love letter to the series that offers a whole new experience.
The most impressive part of the storytelling is simply that - the deviation from the books allows for an unpredictable story that will keep you guessing every step of the way. Every character has a much different arc and having the length of a show to flesh that out allowed for this change to work.
The English voice cast consists of the cast from the 2010 film adaptation. Canada’s sweetheart Michael Cera steps back into the role as Scott Pilgrim effortlessly, as if it hasn’t been 13 years since the film was released.
The cast is able to emulate the same energy that they had in the film - and characters who didn’t get much screen time in the film now get plenty of moments to shine throughout the eight-episode run.
Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is, for the most part, the main character of this show. The show focuses on her instead of Scott and that allows for her past with her exes to be explored with a unique angle not yet seen with these characters.
Each of the seven exes get so much time to shine - and that’s especially thanks to the story not being condensed in a two-hour film. It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite ex in this show, but the most noticeably amazing is Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha).
His appearance in the original film is downright amazing - and here his character gets the chance to be explored even further than the five minutes he gets in the movie. The direction that they take his character is so random but works so well that you’re willing to just accept it because of how absurd the show is.
The show was worked on by the graphic novel’s original author, Bryan Lee O’Malley, but also considered creative input from the film’s director Edgar Wright. Wright’s creative influence is felt throughout but thankfully this feels more like the graphic novel and not the movie.
The many nods to the movie, and by extension Wright’s other films, are well-timed and don’t happen often which lets the story exist without constantly living in the shadow of the film’s popularity.
Animation wise, this is one of the coolest looking shows that has come out recently. The style is reminiscent of the graphic novels, with splashes of Edgar Wright’s iconic visual style sprinkled throughout.
Action scenes look ridiculously good, with one of the highlights being the skateboard chase that takes place in the fourth episode.
Like its film counterpart, music plays a big role in the story and its use here is just as impactful. Anamanaguchi did the score for the show and it accompanies the style and story perfectly. This is a standout TV score that absolutely pops off.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” blasted far beyond the low bar I had set for it. The show is a quick binge that fans of the source material will go nuts for.
It’s not afraid to take sharp and unexpected turns narratively - and the vagueness in this review is intentionally keeping those surprises under wraps.
The show keeps itself self-contained, with a small crumb at the end which could lead into a second season.
Whatever they end up doing - I will be watching.
A total K.O.