‘Skull Island’ Season 1 Review: The MonsterVerse Tries Its Luck with a Competent Animated Series


King Kong was a breakthrough when it was released in theaters way back in 1933. So, for almost a hundred years, King Kong and its home, Skull Island, have been part of cinema history and created by themselves an entirely new genre of cinema. When it was released, audiences had never seen anything like it before. With it, cinema showed that it could create the illusion of something existing beyond reality. New worlds and cultures could be seen on the screen when they were only limited to the confines of our imagination. Skull Island, a new Netflix animated series, keeps the flame of the first Kaiju alive and well.

Skull Island is an animated TV series developed by Brian Duffield, who has already proven that he has an inclination for the genre with movies such as Love and Monsters, and Underwater, both of which are quite underrated. Now, he looks to the realm of animation to tell stories belonging to the Monsterverse.

The series stars Nicolas Cantu, Mae Whitman, Darren Barnet, Benjamin Bratt, and Betty Gilpin. The series tells the story of Charlie, a young man who looks to have a normal life but is dragged by his father on a life of looking for cryptids. When they finally find what they are looking for, they find themselves stranded on Skull Island.


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Skull Island the series is part of the Monsterverse, Legendary Picture’s own cinematic universe, which, surprisingly, has been quite a success. The cinematic universe started with Godzilla in 2014, and since the latest entry, Godzilla Vs. Kong managed to be quite a success, even when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak.

The universe is way looser than other cinematic universes that are still rolling, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that these legendary cinema creatures still have a home in theaters and on television, and it would be easy to say that we will keep watching them go at it for many years.

And so, the animated series Skull Island doesn’t feel like something that feels really connected to the movies. There are mentions of some organizations here and there, and Skull Island, which appeared in several of the movies, serves as the main link between the mediums.

Even Kong, who is one of the main attractions in the movies, here has more of a star cameo. His appearance comes quite late in the season. This might disappoint some people who might want to see him be the start of the show. So, if you are interested in the show only because you want to watch more of Kong, be ready to be disappointed. It is great When he appears, but not for long.


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Skull Island feels like a very competent show, but not much else. The series never really excels beyond being entertaining and never overstaying its welcome. The series’ first season runs for only eight episodes, and each episode runs for about 20 minutes. So, yeah. The time commitment to the show is quite small. You can binge-watch this series in one afternoon, get your dose of giant monsters, and then be on your way. This last bit is the main issue; Skull Island probably won’t stay with you. It is fun while watching it, but once it is over, it is clear that the show is not very memorable.

Why? As we said before, the series doesn’t really excel at anything; the first example is in the animation itself. Skull Island looks well below something like Netflix’s Castlevania, which, at times, was really an animation showcase. Here, Skull Island does only what is required for the show to tell its story.

Characters, environments, action sequences, and quiet moments are all animated on a middle standard. The characters’ movements feel choppy at times, their designs are all quite generic, and so are the designs of the creatures and the environments they inhabit. You will not get any gasping moments when watching the show, at least not from the visuals.

The writing is a bit better, with the human characters taking center stage. The story dwells on what makes these people search the world’s edge to find what is hidden behind it. It is quite endearing and scary but also charming and makes the characters feel way more interesting than they seem to in the first place. However, the dialogue often falls into quip mayhem.

Even in the worst circumstances, the characters cannot stop pointing things out. That kind of dialogue might have passed as funny when Joss Whedon was still a thing, but now it feels like it is trying too hard, and it has the opposite effect of being funny.

The cringy dialogue often brings the characters down along with it. Especially when it comes to Charlie, our main protagonist, who seems to be the main offender, you could say it is all part of his personality or a defense mechanism to deal with the stressful situation that he lives in.

However, it still doesn’t work because Charlie doesn’t have much else to do outside of being quippy. His father, Cap, is way more interesting, and it would have been amazing just to follow him and his side of the story. The teen characters on the show just make everything feel less important and uneventful. It is great to have coming-of-age stories, but this one is not particularly good.

The series is at its best when it focuses on the characters on a deeper level that relates to what they are facing on the island. Also, exploring the island, its different biomes, and wildlife are always something to look for.

When the show goes into trying to be mysterious by making characters talk in confusing half sentences and dealing with feelings that should be worked on in Teen TV drama, that is where the show starts losing us a bit. Thankfully, towards the end, the series ramps up with the apparition of the main attraction, and things become way more interesting.

Skull Island isn’t a bad series, not at all. The show manages to be entertaining. Animation is certainly not the best you will see in the industry, or even on Netflix, which has way better animation shows from a visual standpoint.

The show’s connection with the Monsterverse also seems a bit flimsy; we will have to see if some of these characters or events will make waves in future films. Skull Island is a cool way to spend an afternoon if you need to watch something that is fun and a small-time commitment. It might not be memorable, but it isn’t boring.

SCORE: 7/10

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