The Mysterious Benedict Society is Disney+’s answer to Marvel and Star Wars fatigue
“One of the things we really liked about the book when we first read it is that these kids are like showing that there are so many different ways to approach a problem and sometimes even the technically correct solution the puzzle designer may have intended may not be the right one for the situation,” said co-creator and executive producer Matt Manfredi. “Listening to young people synthesizing different ways of doing and showing that was their biggest strength, that’s what really got to us. Some of them are gregarious, some of them, Constance, are just direct, and there are times when both are somehow justified and necessary.
Hay added “Seeing the way the [kids] interact with each other and how they navigate socially, not all of them are incredibly suave and comfortable in the world. It’s not who they are and that there’s strength in who they are and that’s a big part of the show. It’s important for us to bring it forward and the actors do a great job of portraying it, there are different ways of being in the world that are also really valuable and wonderful.”
My own journey in reading the novel series was enriched by seeing aspects of my own life reflected in Sticky and Rhonda being both black and neurodivergent. Even though Season 2 wasn’t written with the causes of the children’s special abilities, the producers definitely thought about it by having the children navigate the interpersonal conflicts in a way that’s true to their worldview and not necessarily how adults would expect them to behave.
Fans who have followed the Society since the novels should rest assured that the deviations from the book canon in Season 2 make structural sense. Season 1 gave Mr. Benedict’s adult team a much bigger role in defeating Curtain’s evil. The second book not only has the problem of deprioritizing adults, but also descriptions of places that are very difficult to reproduce on screen easily. The fact that Rhonda, Milligan, and Mrs. Perumal (Gia Sandhu) form their own team to find the children reinforces Season 1’s increased focus on character development. In fact, the scene where Ms. Perumal and Milligan admit their shared anxiety about parenthood is a deep emotional throb that tweens may not understand, but is sure to grab the attention of adults.
The first scavenger hunt clue takes the kids aboard the SS Shortcut ship. These scenes were filmed at the historic Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach; an old cruise ship from the 1930s. Although the goals of the children and crew aboard the shortcut have strayed from the plot of the book. Captain Nolan (Fred Melamed) and Cannonball (Joel de la Fuente) are widely featured as comic relief and potential obstacles to the treasure hunt mission in episodes 2 and 3.
After each stage of the treasure hunt as well as Mr. Benedict and Number Two’s challenge to escape the clutches of Curtain will be the primary motivation for audiences to watch each week. The cliffhangers between each episode wouldn’t have the same impact in the all-at-once binge format. Whether you’re waiting for the franchise’s next major release or want to expand your horizons, follow the adventures of The Mysterious Benedict Society will definitely be worth it.