Reviews: The Dreamstone
Hilarious Cartoon Slapstick Mixed With Saccharine Drivel
The Dreamstone is a cult British cartoon from the early nineties. The show's concept is delightfully surreal; it revolves around a unique world where basically dreams are Serious Business. One side is the Land Of Dreams where the Dream Maker makes pleasant dreams for it's civilians, the Noops (little green bunny people), the other side is Viltheed, ruled by the monstrous Zordrak, insistent on giving Nightmares to the Sleeping World, for that however, he needs his minions the Urpneys (slothenly big nosed humans with lizard tails) to steal the Dream Maker's device; The Dreamstone. This is basically the premise of each episode, the Urpneys being sent to the Land Of Dreams with some goofy invention to nab the stone in a Wile E Coyote-esque fashion, but predictably fail, due to their bumbling, the heroes' efforts or just cruel fate. The Urpneys are a huge draw appeal of the show, being surprisingly complex and sympathetic for traditional kids villains, along with being insanely witty, funny characters. This is sadly where most of the show's appeal ends however, since that's near solely where it's draw is. Nothing else really gets developed or properly focused and thus the show loses any entertainment value whenever the Urpneys disappear. The heroes are dull and unbearably cloying, and usually come off as priggish bullies due to the Urpneys' pitiful dynamic, while the dream premise itself is undeveloped (only a handful of episodes even show dreams). Even Zordrak, for such a wonderfully demonic villain, mostly sits in his lair detached from the actual plot. As a result most episodes are rather formulaic, with much potential wasted. It's a shame as the show starts off on a promising high, the pilot is a work of art and, along with lots of Urpney humor, goes out of it's way more to develop the show's mythos and give a lot of other characters personalities and focus as well. Things start to gradually recover as the series progresses, leading to some genuinely great episodes, but it's too slow a process, it takes almost the final season to reach the point that the key basics are running efficiently. What we get here is some extremely funny slapstick, but Urpneys aside, a rather flawed and grandiose affair that could have made a legendary show with the right effort put into such a unique concepts.