From creators Bill Motz and Bob Roth, The Ghost and Molly McGee is the latest animated series to join the Disney Channel roster. The network has seen an uptick in quality animation, with a greater emphasis on compelling narratives and appealing characters than previous eras. While Molly McGee is still in its infancy, its premiere episodes hint at a bright future for the not-so-spooky tale.
The Ghost and Molly McGee follows optimistic tween Molly McGee (Ashly Burch) who becomes eternally bound to a cantankerous ghost named Scratch (Dana Snyder) after a supernatural mishap. What follows is a series of misadventures through which Molly and Scratch must learn to coexist as unlikely friends. The plot of Molly McGee is nothing particularly unique. “Polar opposites becoming unlikely allies”, is a common storytelling trope. But the commonality of an idea is less important than its execution. It helps that the premiere’s ending hints at a larger, overarching threat involving the underworld’s disapproval of Molly and Scratch’s budding friendship.
What instantly stands out about Molly McGee is the art direction. The background layouts are simplistic, but rich with atmosphere courtesy of a lush color palette. The character designs, meanwhile, have a soft, rounded motif that oozes charm. The show’s overall aesthetic is evocative of 1950’s era of animation. The same level of appeal applies to the animation, which is among the best of Disney Channel’s recent programming. Classic techniques like squash-and-stretch are bountiful in Molly McGee, and breathe much life into its characters. From an artistic standpoint, everything is just so likable in Molly McGee. Ironic for a show about ghosts and haunts.
Characters are an important element of any show, and they’ve made a strong first impression. Though Molly’s personification as a starry-eyed, hyper-positive kid is almost a cliché in cartoons, both the animation and Burch‘s performance establish Molly as an endearing protagonist. What I especially like is the narrative direction the show takes with Molly’s admittedly familiar personality. At times, she can be friendly to the point of driving people away, hinting at the importance of boundaries. Dana Snyder is effortlessly funny as Scratch, with a voice and delivery unique in the field. Scratch is a classic “jerk with a heat of gold”, and Snyder encapsulates this quality perfectly.
As previously reported, The Ghost and Molly McGee is a musical series. Each episode features a song from composer Rob Cantor, and they are extremely catchy so far. A heavy emphasis on music also helps to distinguish Molly McGee from its counterparts, offering the audience better incentive to tune in for new episodes.
The Ghost and Molly McGee premieres on October 1, 2021 on Disney Channel, and October 6, 2021 on the Disney+ streaming service!