Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. Poster / Marvel / Hulu
M.O.D.O.K. is the latest television series from Marvel. This stop-motion adult animated show is created by Jordan Blum, a long-time American Dad writer, and Patton Oswalt, the stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. This series premiered on Hulu on May 21, 2021, with animation provided by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the studio behind Robot Chicken, and Crossing Swords. Initially, this show was part of a slate of multiple series of low-tier Marvel properties that would eventually crossover into a special titled The Offenders. However, when Marvel Television was folded into Marvel Entertainment those other shows were canceled along with the Netflix Marvel shows.
This series follows a barely top 100 villain, M.O.D.O.K. as he navigates the losing control of his company A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) to a silicon valley mega-company GRUMBL, and the end of his marriage. The two large themes are woven through the series giving the series both a family-oriented aspect while also being a workplace comedy. All this is done while digging heavily into the comic book canon of Marvel, filling every single space with deep-cut references.
There are many positive aspects to this show. The voice talent is top-notch with the main cast consisting of Patton Oswalt, Aimee Garcia, Ben Schwartz, Melissa Fumero, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Beck Bennett, Jon Daly, and Sam Richardson. The recurring/guest stars are also high powered consisting of Jon Hamm, Nathan Fillion, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Hader, Kevin Michael Richardson, Meredith Salenger, Zara Mizrahi, Dustin Ybarra, Chris Parnell, Eddie Pepitone, and Alan Tudyk. The volume of talent deployed in this first season is a great portent for any further seasons that may be made. Another good aspect is the art style of the show. This show is stop motion and is done excellently. The years of work on Robot Chicken by the Stoopid Buddy Stoodios gas refined the look of the animation. The use of animation allows for more exploration of the world of Marvel without the need for large amounts of special effects.
It is the negative aspects of the show that threaten to overwhelm the good parts. The biggest letdown of the series is that it takes a few episodes for the show to get going. By the end of the first episode, I was beginning to question whether the show would be good. Once these establishing episodes are completed this show gets going. The last episode’s dual Lous’ Bar Mitzvah is a great opening gag to the resoundingly great finish to the season. Additionally, the ancillary characters are both more funny and boring too. A couple of cases are evident in the main cast. The Super-Adaptoid has many of the best lines but is not used much. Monica Rappaccini / Scientist Supreme, despite being in the main cast, is not a great character and needs to be used more in the next season.
If you are a bit of a Marvel nerd or a fan of shows such as Robot Chicken are going to enjoy this show. The constant deep cuts into Marvel’s deep lore will keep the true believers engaged, and others constantly referring to the Marvel Wiki to figure out the references. It may continue to build into a funnier show that will be able to entertain a more general audience. If you are feeling adventurous you should check it out.