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Crossing Swords – Season 1 review – It’s like South Park on steroids (and that’s not a bad thing)

Crossing Swords is a new comedy series on Hulu from the executive producers of Robot Chicken, which was an Emmy Award Winning show in which action figures spoofed popular culture.  Like Robot Chicken, this is a show for adults made out of toys.  But there are some major differences.

Difference one: Instead of action figures of well known superheroes, the characters in this series look like little wooden pins reminiscent of Weeble Wobbles with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer style animation. 

Difference two: When I said it was an adult show, I wasn’t kidding.  Freed by being on a streaming service, the show boasts curse words galore and nudity (which is hard to pull off when you are animating little toy cylinders).

Difference three: Where Robot Chicken used our knowledge of the toys’ characters to poke fun at pop culture, Crossing Swords uses the toys to lampoon our society.

Set in medieval times, Crossing Swords is the story of Patrick, a naive young guy who dreams of becoming a squire. Like South Park, each episode sneaks in some social commentary amongst the bawdy humor, shocking (for comedic effect) violence, and groin shots (again, hard to pull off when the characters don’t have legs). In that context the show’s name takes on a new meaning … and if you get that joke, you’re in for a lot more where that came from. While there is plenty of cursing, lowbrow sex jokes, and violence there are also some witty wordplay and pop culture references.  Crossing Swords is profane, it’s juvenile, it’s wrong … and it’s hilarious.

(Photo courtesy of Sony)

One benefit to relying on voice work is the ability to attract top name talent. Crossing Swords boasts Seth Green (Austin Powers, Robot Chicken), Nicholas Hoult (Beast in the X-Men prequels), Tara Strong (best Harley Quinn ever), Alana Ubach (Coco), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), and Breckin Meyer (Road Trip). Patrick could easily be annoying as he’s the bland wide eyed innocent character, but he’s a great foil for all the dementedly vibrant personalities around him.

Animation wise, Crossing Swords is like the Lego Movie in that the animation is so good it looks like the characters and sets are made out of wooden toys. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they went to all that effort instead of traditional animation, but it looks great. Like South Park, the incredibly cutesy character design (Patrick has freckles for cryin’ out loud) juxtaposes with the crass things the characters say. The ways Crossing Swords makes simple toy characters (seriously, they are just a round head on a base) look different is impressive.

(Photo courtesy of Sony)

So, who would like Crossing Swords? If you like South Park, Robot Chicken, and Team America: World Police, this show is right up your alley. From my focus group of two (me and my wife), the humor skews towards males (remember the aforementioned groin shots), which doesn’t mean women can’t enjoy it of course. By way of illustration, my wife and I watched two episodes together, then she went to bed and and I watched two more even though it was way past my bedtime. Is this the show that will convince you to sign up for Hulu? If you signed up for Comedy Central just to get South Park, perhaps. If you already have Hulu and like raunchy humor, I recommend checking it out. I found the episodes after the pilot to be funnier, so if there’s anything you like in the pilot, stick around for episode two before making a final decision on whether to keep watching.

The first season of Crossing Swords premieres on Hulu with all 10 episodes of the first Season 1 on June 12th.

Do you plan to watch the show? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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