Yonderland – Sky1’s new comedy series from the makers of Horrible Histories – really kicks into gear this week, launching promptly into the adventure and being all the funnier for getting to spend more time with all the one-off, incidental characters.
While the plot is incredibly straightforward – Debbie and Elf must retrieve a scroll from a temple, which requires invisibility to see them through the dangerous forest pathways, only the Great Wizard Bradley has lost his Mojo – the characters who crop up for the sake of one gag are the most memorable.
Ben Willbond’s overbearing nerd and the puppet who is confident in his fighting ability compete with the main plot, alongside the introduction of Simon Farnaby’s villainous Negatus. Being Yonderland, Negatus’ villainy is hamstrung by the repair man who keeps upping his quotes whenever the flaming trapdoor death-pit thing fails to work. He also has three minions who consistently fail to do his bidding properly.
So far, it seems that Yonderland isn’t really concerned with advancing on its overarching plot. Negatus and Debbie are yet to meet, and both are practical people trying to cope with the stupidity of everyone they’re surrounded by.
There are no grand leaps of intuition or semantic cleverness involving passwords here, Debbie is just level-headed and pragmatic. It’s just that everything else is so ridiculous that the task of getting a scroll to tell her more about her prophesised coming takes an episode. The actual set-up is simple, it’s just that Laurence Rickard’s elderly and washed up Bradley needs to be reconciled with his Mojo – in this case, his small, furry Northern Mojo – leading to a surprise dinner date.
If this is to be the standard then it’s set high. Yonderland‘s arc will barely advance while a strange group of guest characters will steal the show and distract Debbie from saving the kingdom. You won’t mind, though, because you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself.
Aired at 7pm on Sunday 10 November 2013 on Sky1.
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