Expanding upon the Monsters Inc. Universe: ‘Monsters at Work’ Series Review

Picture of By Gökçe Bayramıçlılar

By Gökçe Bayramıçlılar

I don’t know about you, but as a kid and even now as an adult, one of my favourite Pixar movies remains Monsters Inc., even 20 years after its release. When Monsters University came out, I was ecstatic. It was a whole new (and funny) side to the universe, and seeing how Mike and Sully became friends and how they ended up at Monsters Inc. was a full-circle moment that made me love the franchise more. However, it also left me wondering even more about what happened after the events that unfolded in Monsters Inc. If you were also burning up with these questions, look no further. ‘Monsters at Work’, a TV series created by Bobs Gannaway on Disney+ takes you back to the world of monsters as you’ve never seen before. 

As someone who has now completed her masters in Entertainment Communication (yay!), I’ve done my fair share of reviews on entertainment content, whether it is on the reality show ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ or various nature documentaries such as ‘David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet’ or ‘Fantastic Fungi’. I was always tempted to review the Pixar movies that came out in the past year, but none of them excited me as much as this Disney+ series did.

What’s it About?

The series picks up after the events of Monsters Inc takes place. Everyone within the company is trying to adapt to the ‘shift’. The newfound information that laughter provides more gigawatts (pun intended) than screams leaves scarers worry they’re not funny enough to be jokesters. Among the scarers is a fresh MU graduate and newly employed Tylor Tuskman, who temporarily gets appointed to the MIFT (Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team), contrary to his dismay. The series shows a bit more of the work-life within Monsters Inc., within the Scare Floor and beyond. 

New Characters Silver, Old Characters Gold 

Going into this show, much like anyone else, I was expecting to see more of Mike and Sully. They are, after all, what makes the franchise so successful. It is their banter, their chemistry and their story that viewers want to tune into. Well, I got both good and bad news for you. Mike and Sully are, of course, within the show. They get assigned new roles within the company that they try to figure out. Although I spotted a few nostalgic references to the original two movies, within the first three episodes, it was unfortunate to see that they have taken the roles of supporting characters, leaving the stage to the newcomers. 

My favourite scenes still were those with Mike and Sully, proving that, in this case, old characters are gold. 

Don’t get me wrong, most of the new characters are still quite interesting and charming. Among them, even famous voices like Mindy Kaling and Henry Winkler bring the characters to life. The MIFT is filled with colourful and interesting misfit monsters that are funny in their own way. The MIFT office seems like a comical, awkward place that is almost The Office-like. Tylor, who gets assigned to the team, temporarily sets his goals on going back to the Scare/Laugh-Floor to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a Scarer (now, Jokester). The episodes play out like a sitcom, and we see the MIFT take on daily but crucial tasks, such as fixing a kids’ room. Mike and Sully also become somewhat involved in the situation, which ends up being resolved in 20 minutes. Although most of the screen time is on the MIFT, it is anyways worth mentioning that my favourite scenes still were those with Mike and Sully, proving that, in this case, old characters are gold. 

Visually, everything is gorgeous, and characters explode with bright and fun colours in typical Monsters Inc. tradition. Likewise, the theme song is familiar and feels bittersweet. The humour feels like it’s aimed at younger audiences over the now-adult fans. I expected the show to be funnier and the dialogues to be a bit more clever, considering that humour is Pixar’s strong suit. Another thing that the series lacks thus far is a clear villain.  Although only three episodes have been out, I’ll be crossing my fingers for a worthy competitor for Randy. 

The Verdict

While most reviews are polarized between either loving or hating it, I feel like my opinion lies somewhere in the middle. The series is definitely an amusing family entertainment, with good nods and references to some of the burning questions left unanswered two decades ago. However, older fans of the movies have to keep in mind that this is still a television show, so the high standard set by the movies might not be met. I do see great potential in the series, though; it still manages to tingle the heartstrings with nostalgia and provides a few light chuckles along the way. Above it all, it is still good entertainment. I definitely did not realize how fast those 20 minutes had passed. 

The new characters are refreshing and hilarious in their own way, and seeing them interact with our beloved O.G.’s feels amusing.

Even though by the time I’m writing this review, only three episodes have been out, the series shows great promise as it expands upon the universe and the situations that unfold. The new characters are refreshing and hilarious in their own way, and seeing them interact with our beloved O.G.’s feels amusing. Also, considering it has only been three episodes, there is still too much left to explore and so much room for growth. Even just seeing how Monsters Incorporated operates on a daily basis and cameos by Mike and Sully, not to mention Mike’s Comedy Lessons, is enough to make me want to tune in every Wednesday for new episodes on Disney+. Check the trailer out for yourself.

Cover by: Disney

Edited by: Asiah Capponi

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