The newest animated series from Netflix, “Hilda” has arrived on the streaming service for all to see. Based on the award-winning graphic novel series, the show follows a young adventurous girl named Hilda who, after encountering troubles in her woodland home along with her mother, must move to a nearby town known as Trolberg. Here, she must adapt to city life while making new friends and encountering even more strange adventures than she could’ve ever imagine.

This is a show certainly heavy on atmosphere. The visual style successfully translates the look of graphic novels to animation with stunning results. The simple yet expressive character designs, creative creatures and gorgeous backgrounds along with the warm fall color palette succeed at drenching the viewer in this world’s aesthetic. The character animation and effects are also surprisingly smooth and full of life for a television series.

The world crafted here works in tandem with the visuals to stand out from the crowd. The tone of this show can be described as a lighter blend of Hayao Miyazaki and “Stranger Things.” The slower pacing of many moments feel purposefully added in to allow the audience to get fully wrapped up in the atmosphere. The creativity to many of these ideas are almost always explored as a result.

The characters here are a good bit of fun. Our titular heroine truly shines, as her wide-eyed curiosity and determined spirit make her immediately likable. The relationship she shares with her mother also feels refreshing for a show such as this, with the two having a good sense of camaraderie that makes for natural chemistry. Hilda’s variety of friends and monsters she encounters aren’t anything special, but compliment the show’s overall charm.

Where the show begins to lack is in its storytelling. The narrative structure of  the entire season felt largely inconsistent. Some episodes in the series, particularly the first and last few, are more connected in that they have an overarching story piecing them together. The others in the series are more of one-off adventures. Both styles of storytelling work fine and are executed well on their own, but the show has a hard time committing to one of them.

This struggle to identify with a storytelling style affects some of the show’s overall pacing and plot points. Because the series has a hard time figuring out how it wants to present itself, a number of conflicts either get resolved way too quickly or feel like they should’ve been explored more.

At the end of the day, while “Hilda” isn’t any masterpiece, it is a hard show to hate. It is a charming, beautiful series with a likable atmosphere and plenty of creativity to offer that kids (and the kid at heart) are sure to admire. For those looking to watch something that will bring them back to those carefree, imaginative days of childhood, then “Hilda” may be just what the doctor ordered.

Review overview



8Despite some narrative inconsistencies, "Hilda" is a fun, creative and stunning series that is perfect for anyone seeking out an enjoyable yet undemanding watch.