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Review: ‘Monsters at Work’ Disney+ Original Series

Picking up right where 2001’s ‘Monsters, Inc.’ left off, ‘Monsters at Work takes us back to the scare floor where we join Mike and Sully as they get used to swapping scares for laughs.

With Billy Crystal and John Goodman returning to their iconic roles, along with a host of newcomers, and more returning favourites, the series shows us how the city of Monstropolis is coping with the transition to being fuelled by laughter. Newly graduated Scare Major Tyler Tuskmon gets a job as a mechanic in the facilities team but dreams of working alongside his heroes Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan. How will Monsters Incorporated cope with the changes needed to the way they create power? Well, with Mike and Sully in charge, we are set to find out over the course of 10 episodes.

Straight from the first scene, the show feels directly linked to its movie predecessor. We’re taken into a child’s bedroom and reminded how this world used to draw its power by collecting screams. We quickly learn that the bedroom is a simulation and that the scarer is a student, top of his class at Monster’s University and about to embark on a career alongside his idols on the scare floor. Little does Tyler Tuskmon (Ben Feldman) know that the world is quickly changing, and his dream may not have come true just yet.

The show feels like a perfect continuation of the original Pixar movie, although Disney Television Animation produces it without Pixar’s direct involvement. The ‘Pixar magic’ is still there, in the show’s humour, cast performances and the familiar world it takes place. Crystal and Goodman, along with new cast members like Ben Feldman, Mindy King and Henry Winkler, put in solid performances that could easily make the cut of a bigger budget Pixar animated feature. Disney has a history of following up its hit animated movies with scaled-back versions in TV show form, which often fall short of their movie counterparts. There is no such feeling with Monsters at Work, which doesn’t feel compromised in the slightest.

There is plenty to love about Monsters at Work, which does very well at introducing new characters, themes, and ideas and includes lots of familiar nostalgia for fans of the 2001 movie. The series is a joyful celebration of the power of laughter, and like the movies that preceded it, it shows us that change, although sometimes unexpected, can work out for the best.

If Monsters at Work is a sign of things to come, in terms of Disney+ original animated content, then the future is looking bright. The series is fun, well written and beautifully produced, showcasing the talent and craftsmanship that Disney has at its disposal. There’s an excellent level of detail in the episodes that I was able to watch, which fans will pick up on as they watch again and again – one of the benefits of streaming.

I really enjoyed Monsters at Work and looked forward to seeing where things go during the rest of the series. 4 out of 5 stars.

In addition to Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Bonnie Hunt, returning cast members from the original movies include John Ratzenberger as Yeti and Tylor’s dad, Bernard, Jennifer Tilly as Celia Mae and Bob Peterson as Roze, twin sister to his original Monsters, Inc. character, Roz. Voicing additional characters are Stephen Stanton (Star Wars Resistance) as Smitty and Needleman, the bumbling custodial team at Monsters, Inc., and Aisha Tyler (Archer) as Tylor’s mom, Millie Tuskmon. “Monsters at Work” will premiere Wednesday, July 7 exclusively on Disney+. New episodes will release every Wednesday.

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