I began watching and catching up on episodes from a series, truly a hidden gem, a few weeks back. Hesitant at first, my reluctance came from an attitude of adult superiority, something toxic that holds a lot of us today. Pushing the series off at first, I considered it to be for younger children and something that would lack the depth I'd hope for. I was incredibly wrong and I've never been happier to be baffled by a television series. The Mysterious Benedict Society is what has baffled me, a collection of books turned Disney+ series.
The original book series this story was adapted from, authored by Trenton Lee Stewart, has seen a rare accomplishment. Its' adaptation is being accepted and loved by fans of the original written word. I found something compelling right from the very beginning. A lot could be considered in what kept my attention, from the excellent aesthetic and image the creators gave to each scene and costume, to the personality evident in the quick and quirky editing styles. But what kept me was the story and the actors who brought it forward. Here's a look at the series followed by an overview:
After winning a scholarship competition, four gifted orphans are recruited by the peculiar Mr. Benedict for a dangerous mission to save the world from a global crisis known as The Emergency. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance must infiltrate the mysterious L.I.V.E. Institute to discover the truth behind the crisis. When the headmaster, the sophisticated Dr. Curtain appears to be behind this worldwide panic, the kids of "The Mysterious Benedict Society" must devise a plan to defeat him.
First, we have to discuss the brilliance of Tony Hale's acting, compelling the audience with the charm and sincerity of Mr. Benedict and the opposite corner in the layers of Dr. Curtain's personality & secrets. Next, the kids involved are each crucial to the importance of The Mysterious Benedict Society. In this group of special kids selected by Mr. Benedict, we get Reynie Muldoon, played by Mystic Inscho, George "Sticky" Washington", played by Seth Carr, Kate Weatherall, played by Emmy DeOliveira, and Constance Contraire, played by Marta Kessler. The characters these kids portray are so well done it blows my mind. Each fits the personality and mannerisms, fitting into the roles with ease. The other actors in the series such as Kristen Schaal, MaameYaa Boafo, Gia Sandhu, and Ryan Hurst are brilliant alongside the kids and on their own in scenes.
What I have found to be so special about The Mysterious Benedict Society as a whole has been the themes and underlying messages in the story. From the importance of how trauma and guilt can affect us later in life to the isolation felt from any neurodiversity that one may have outside what is considered the "norm" of society. Each person, mainly the kids, feels the impact of their world and expectations in different ways. From being unaware of bluntness in social interactions to hyper-fixations, the series shows the beautiful parts of neurodivergent minds while also exploring the ways society aims at taking that and molding it into their concept of perfection.
The power of an observant mind, empathy, and acknowledgment of the beauty in the ways that people's minds work differently from one another is all wrapped up wonderfully in this series. I don't shed a tear often when I write, but trust me I did with this article. The Mysterious Benedict Society holds your soul, and if you're anything like me (neurodivergent as ever), it allows the space for you to see yourself as you should be seen…as valid and worthy.
Bleeding Cool TV on Instagram: For all of the stuff too random and bizarre to make the site, make sure to follow us on Instagram (with an official launch on June 19): Bleeding Cool TV (@bleedingcooltv).
BCTV Daily Dispatch: For a look at what's going on across the television and streaming landscape, sign up for Bleeding Cool's daily email round-up of the news you need to know here.