Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance is ridiculously ambitious, for (overwhelmingly) better and (occasionally) worse. It’s a rare and beautiful beast that’s definitively an epic TV series, as well as feeling very easy to surrender to and bury oneself between luxuriously rich storytelling and gloriously beautiful pops color. That ease, though, demands some patience — and I apologize for pulling this card — and doesn’t arrive until you’re a few initial episodes in. That’s a terrible way to start this review, right? No one wants to be told that a TV series “gets better” if you just stick it out, but that’s not what I”m getting at. This series is remarkable from the beginning, yet it just happens to be so layered that one really needs some warm-up time, or viewers might feel overwhelmed. These days, we’re so used to padded, overly long seasons streaming TV that waste time meandering through useless, redundant happenings. That’s not the case with this series. It’s well-paced and doesn’t invest time with extra garbage, but viewers have to stay “present” to absorb all the set-up. There’s a lot world building that needs to be established, but it all sets up an enormous payf.
As a prequel to Jim Henson’s cult-beloved The Dark Crystal (1982), the series is so intricately constructed that some viewers will call it complicated. That’s a fair criticism but easily overcome, and it’s nuts that this TV show exists. Just wild and crazy and gutsy and admirable and yeah. Nuts.
Look, Netflix took a huge risk with this series. They spent an enormous amount money on realistically rendered puppets (and the best puppeteers) that are voiced by expensive names. What results is exquisite, but oh boy, be prepared to watch the first episode more than once to properly process it all. It’s worth the investment taking that extra hour, and notably, Age Resistance operates upon the assumption that viewers haven’t watched the Henson movie. So that’s a time saver. Watch the movie at your leisure, or not, but rest assured that the mythos and spirit Henson’s creation remain intact, and this series should impress regardless familiarity with subject matter. The sheer attention to detail, with countless technical tidbits that went into rendering the world Thra, is simply astonishing to behold. Netflix (guided by Jim Henson’s daughter, Lisa) obviously took the time to get things right.