We need a hero.
It took a year, but here we are. The conclusion of the third season of SuperMansion is here and it’s one hell of a doozy. After going through the back half of the show’s season, there definitely was a feeling of “finality” to it and not just because it was wrapping the third season, but because, it just feels like we might be getting a goodbye altogether. Whether or not that’s the case, that I can’t say. The Crackle brand has been through a crazy year as increasing competition in the ad-supported streaming space and the numerous changed hands in which the service has been placed in coupled with essentially being booted out of Canada has me thinking there could be some challenges up ahead. Someone at the company was smart enough to syndicate the series for Adult Swim which is one hell of a smart idea and I’m sure staves off some of the cost, but with cable TV we’re probably getting just as crazy of a future up ahead. In any event, no matter how you get to watch the third season of SuperMansion, please do me this favor…promptly do so.
SuperMansion Season Three, up until this point,may have been perceived as a lot of setting up that would then be followed by two-holiday specials leading us to wonder what the hell is canon and what is not, the second half of the show’s third season does a good enough job of reminding viewers where we are in our tale and then they do everything in its power to not take itself TOO seriously, though this time around that seems to be increasingly a challenge. Having started his career as one of the most vaunted comic book writers in the industry, show creator Zeb Wells’ career has seen him go from writer to stop-motion directing connoisseur and finally one of the most well-rounded producers in animated television. His name is on half of six episodes found in this lot just in writing alone, and while others get the credit for directing, and rightfully so, Zeb’s fingerprints leftover from his stellar run on Robot Chicken are all over the place here. His attention to detail on action sequences puts Zeb in a class of his own especially as it pertains to stop-motion animation which helps tell the harrowing tale of this engrossing plot. There are numerous instances of Zeb’s brilliance in constructing these acting sequences with obvious points of emphasis going to Lex’s battle with his clone in space or when we get to the climactic battle at the end. Also clearly on display, Zeb’s love for classic cinema with nods to Rocky, The Fugitive, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The underlying premise of this batch of six episodes sees Lex in confinement by way of Robobot and Dr. Devizo. She’s in there just in case her insect superpowers go nuts and so that the two unlikely allies can work on some sort of a fix and get Lex back to crime-fighting. When Rex finds out what’s going down, he’s understandably upset, but comes to grips with reality and goes along with the program. It’s all moot, however, as Lex indeed does get out and goes nuts leading to multiple teams needing to team up, featuring both bad guys, good guys, and then Groaner whose obvious gay tendencies towards Black Saturn have put him in the unhappy middle of the situation. With the overall arc in place, Zeb does a great job of feeding the over-reaching story with a bunch of sub-arcs that do enough to keep the minutia of each episode meaty enough to enjoy on their own while not forgetting the end goal. Some of these arcs range from somewhat typical fair like Black Saturn’s budding TV career to quite possibly the funniest bit this show has ever conceived, American Ranger meeting his son. And then how can we forget Wells’ own character “Robobot” who has by far the funniest dialogue in the show and that doesn’t seem to ever not be the case.
If it wasn’t for the best ensemble cast in animated television, a lot of this probably would have failed. Alas, that isn’t the case, and we’re given super strong performances by some of the best in the biz. Emmy nominated voices Keegan-Michael Key and Chris Pine are just as strong in their portrayals as American Ranger and Dr. Devizo respectively and I would be totally fine if Pine takes over for Mark Hamill as the voice of “The Joker” one day should the need arise…he’s that good. Key’s exquisite comic delivery plays second to his ability to take on the role of several lead characters in the show while giving them each distinct voices and portrayals that are slowly becoming in the same league as a MacFarlane or a Shearer in its execution. Gary Anthony Williams’ “Liplor” is your typical brute role not worth getting into heavy detail about, however, Tucker Gilmore’s “Black Saturn” is just as strong and comical as ever.
But don’t worry girls, it’s not just a sausage fest up in this beast. Jillian Bell’s “Lex” is fantastic, but I really came away impressed with Minnie Driver’s “Debbie Devizo” thinking that hey, you know what, this is a small role and how is she going to show up to this with her full potential only to happily place those thoughts in my “incorrect” folder because she’s a voice-acting assassin. Unfortunately, the sample size for Yvette-Nicole Brown is too small for me to really focus on and I even sometimes wondered why her character “Meta-Zenith” is even here to be perfectly honest. Heidi Gardner, fresh off her co-starring role in Alien News Desk, is building upon her repertoire of simple yet effective voicework and is usually the one tasked with making sure everyone remembers this is an animated comedy by delivering one-liners like silly.
I would be totally remissed, if I didn’t talk about Bryan Cranston. The multi-hyphenate award winner showcases his funny bone probably to help balance out all of his dramatic work, only to be featured in an ending sequence where clearly his dramatic accolades are coming into play here. We’re not getting any half-assed efforts from his role as “Lex”, this isn’t a side gig, he puts just as much effort into those last few minutes of the third season as he does in anything he’s done in Broadway, film, or television. It’s a tour-de-force delivery that helps put SuperMansion up a peg in quality adult animation.