6 Thoughts on the First Season of M.O.D.O.K.
As has been the case for some time now, we are living in a golden age of superhero entertainment. So much so that geeky fans like me can pick and choose which superhero stuff they watch and still enjoy a lot of it. And so much so that there now exists an animated cartoon comedy about M.O.D.O.K. This show exists. It’s real. And I watched it all in a weekend and loved it!
TV Rating: 9/10 – Great.
Announced only two years ago as part of some insane lineup of Marvel cartoons, M.O.D.O.K. is the only one that made it to air. No one will ever known exactly what the Tigra/Dazzler show was going to be like, but we can now safely say that M.O.D.O.K. is awesome! Driven by the wit and voice talents of comedian Patton Oswalt, M.O.D.O.K. is a darn fun show and can easily hold its giant head high in today’s wild TV landscape. This is a quality show.
Join me after the jump for my review and thoughts on the M.O.D.O.K. TV show, now available for streaming on Hulu. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the show. And feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.
6. I loved this show
M.O.D.O.K. is a super fun show. It’s inventive, it’s creative, it’s got some wild story ideas and its really darn funny. It’s starkly comic book accurate, while adding its own fun twists. This is definitely the M.O.D.O.K. from the comics, albeit twisted here and there for comedic affect. He’s the leader of A.I.M., he’s a mad scientist, but he’s also a husband and father who is losing his family. It’s a great added wrinkle to the very idea of M.O.D.O.K. as a character, and it’s a great addition to making a TV show about him work. There’s a lot of humor in the idea of this crazy, floating head mad scientist also being a deadbeat husband and a father. The two sides of M.O.D.O.K.’s character work wonderfully together, and I love how the show just forges ahead like it’s no big deal. There’s no explanation for how or why his wife, Jodie, fell in love with him and had children with him. It just is.
The show does a great job of leaning into the absurdist humor that does so well these days. M.O.D.O.K. is no Harley Quinn, but the two shows are in the same wheelhouse. They’re both hilarious in their own right with interesting main characters and a smorgasbord of references to their greater comic universes. And the stop-motion animation in M.O.D.O.K. is gorgeous. It’s smooth, it’s highly detailed and it’s really fun.
5. Exactly my kind of comedy
Humor is subjective and M.O.D.O.K. is exactly my kind of humor. It’s all character and dialogue-based. It’s snappy, its referential, it’s a bunch of thrown-off one-liners and funny commentary. I can’t exactly reproduce the gags or jokes in this prose setting. My delivery would be atrocious. I just wanted to point out that this is exactly my style of wit. And I loved the wanton creativity. The mad scientist duel between M.O.D.O.K. and Monica Rappaccini is so inventive and so much fun. Clearly they put a lot of thought into that one. I liked the twists in the time travel episode. A lot of really creative and funny stuff throughout the season. My favorite episode was probably the one where M.O.D.O.K. gathers a team of C and D-list bad guys to raid Avengers Tower but they end up instead of a long, dark journey of the soul as they tool around in a van.
May we never learn the name of The Melter’s dream grilled cheese food truck.
4. Great use of Marvel Easter Eggs
The creators clearly had cart blanche to have fun with references and Easter Eggs to the Marvel Universe. There are overt references, like Iron Man as a major character, or the Bar With No Name and its band of villains. But there are tons of minor references as well, like a cereal advertised by Wolverine and the Thing. It’s all casual and it’s all fun. And every time I saw one of the Easter Eggs, I got giddy at the very idea that this is a readily available show that can casually namedrop the likes of Balder the Brave or Armadillo. M.O.D.O.K. has a ton of fun with the Marvel references and I am here for that.
3. Patton Oswalt led a great cast
I’m a longtime fan of Patton Oswalt, as most people are, and he does a great job with the show. He’s perfectly cast as M.O.D.O.K., easily capturing the character’s evil nature and his puppy dog sadness. So he’s great as the creative drive of the show and as the lead character. And he’s got a really solid cast around him. Aimee Garcia is phenomenal as his estranged wife, Jodie, who really holds her own throughout the season. Melissa Fumero is solid as his daughter, Melissa. Sam Richardson, who is in everything these days, is great as henchperson Gary. The guest voices are wonderful, like Jon Hamm as Iron Man, Nathan Fillion as Wonder Man and Bill Hader as Angar the Screamer.
There’s really only one actor I didn’t care for…
2. I thought Ben Schwartz was a little too much…until there were two of him
So I love Ben Schwartz as much as the next person, but his performance as the son, Lou, is a little too much at times. Schwartz gives Lou his entire schtick, going full Schwartz all of the time. And that much Ben Schwartz can be a bit too much…at first. The character of Lou really came into his own for me when he got a robot twin partway through the series. Then I loved him! The story had the M.O.D.O.K. family fall victim to Arcade, who created robot doubles to trick the family…only for the family members to brutally murder their robot duplicates. But in the end, the family couldn’t decide which Lou was real and which was the robot double…so they just kept both of them. And the two-man act really elevated Lou’s character and Schwartz’s performance.
As a singular Lou, he was a bit much. But spread out between two identical versions of himself, he was just right.
1. Let’s hope we get a second season
As far as I know, there has not yet been a renewal for a second season of M.O.D.O.K. Heck, we should all consider ourselves lucky for getting this first season. I have to imagine a lot of strings were pulled to keep this show in production when everything else about Marvel TV went down the tubes in favor of Marvel Studios and Disney+. I haven’t even watched Hellstrom. Can you believe that’s an actual thing?! But M.O.D.O.K. is damn good. It’s damn funny. And it’s worthy of more seasons! Give us more M.O.D.O.K.!