By Adam Ray Palmer
It’s been a whole 8 years since we were last saw the scaring experts Mike and Sulley on the big screen in Monster’s University.
Now, the friendly beasts are back on the small screen in a new Disney+ TV series called Monsters At Work. John Goodman and Billy Crystal reprise their roles with a bunch of new talent on board (including Mindy Kaling and Henry Winkler).
Monsters At Work takes place the very next day after the Monsters, Inc. movie that was released nearly decades ago. As you may remember, the power plant started garnering the laughter of children to fuel the city of Monstropolis, after Mike and Sulley discovered that laughter generates ten times more energy than the fearful screams.
In this 2021 TV edition, we follow the story of Tylor Tuskmon (an impressive Ben Feldman), a driven, youthful monster who graduated top of his class at Monsters University. He joins Monsters, Incorporated to follow his dreams of being a Scarer. Once he arrives though, he quickly learns that scaring is no longer on the agenda, but instead, laughter is. With his chosen career being a little derailed, Tyler is reassigned to the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team (MIFT) where he must work alongside a group of eccentric mechanics as he bids to become a Jokester.
Monsters At Work is an intelligent expansion to the Monstropolis world. It keeps the magical and imaginative essence that will have kids hooked for hours, but the series also gives adults something to spend significant time with too. The narrative is simple enough to follow for children, but it’s intricately layered with themes including business struggles, a clash of personalities and an underdog story for the whole family to get behind.
The other element to Monsters At Work that Pixar have nailed is the inclusion of fresh characters whilst also sticking by their original anchors in Mike and Sulley. The hapless duo has taken over from Waternoose in this series and are now in charge with developing their new vision for Monsters, Inc.
It’s enough of a narrative arc to keep the cherished characters in the frame, but it also means we get to meet a whole new collective to adore too. It’s a great balance that Pixar have struck so it appeases the generation who grew up with the originals; but it also appeals to the new fans who will enjoy this series as their first meeting of the monsters.
It’s a welcomed return to the world of Monsters, Inc. as we continue the beloved story. The new series, which arrives on Disney+ on July 7th, is a great addition to the Monstropolis-sphere. Not only do we have the fan-favourites back in Mike and Sulley, but we also get this fresh bunch of characters to root for. Whilst there’s plenty here for adults to enjoy, it’s the next generation who will get the biggest kicks out of this snappy and compelling episodic bliss.
Cineroom rating: 4 stars
Monsters At Work comes to Disney+ on July 7th – certificate PG