Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, Futurama, and now Disenchantment, has included gag after gag in his work about the difficulties of working with big networks that might not treat animated comedies with the respect they deserve. Like how Futurama weathered multiple cancellations, revivals, and reschedulings over the course of its hiccupy run. However, with Disenchantment at Netflix, the animation king has found a totally different set of operating practices.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Groening explained that the Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Game of Thrones-referencing show could stand on its own merits partially in thanks to the streaming service’s trust.
“We are not doing [Disenchantment] completely in the dark. Netflix has certainly been paying attention and all the notes have been very supportive and ones we agree with,” Groening said. “I don't mind notes if they make sense. My experience with Fox on Futurama was the notes that were given were contradictory. We were not able to address the notes without annoying another note-giver."
The creative process has been smoother at Netflix, but so has the production process - structuring the show’s overall narrative has been simpler thanks to the change in medium. “We don't have to backtrack and remind people where they are in the story. We don't have to do a sitcom reset [for each episode] that we're all used to,” said Groening. That means a more unified, longer-form arc of storytelling that’s just as cohesive and different from Groening’s other animated projects as the level of support he’s receiving from his network.
“Netflix couldn't have been more supportive,” Groening said. “They basically said yes after a very quick pitch and have been completely supportive thereon — and that is unusual in the history of TV. There is usually a lot more worry and second-guessing as time goes on."
Fox, the worrying, second-guessing alternative, apparently wasn’t as confident in Futurama — the last time Groening branched out from his home base at The Simpsons. "They so much didn't like it,” Groening said, “They scheduled the show for 7 p.m. on Sunday nights and then made the slogan of the network: 'The fun begins at 8 p.m.' So, I wasn't able to just read between the lines, I was able to read the line." With Netflix’s support behind Disenchantment, it looks like Groening won’t have to worry about broadcast times and pleasing network bigwigs, but simply providing new, funny animation without the distractions.