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TV Review: Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai 

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai

The Prequel Series to the original Joe Dante Classics is a clever re-entry into the Gremlins franchise maintaining the spirit of the anarchistic originals but changing focus. 

Let’s get this out of the way real fast, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is a welcome addition to the Gremlins Franchise.  Yes, it’s good.  

Rather than take us through the next evolution and where Billy and Gizmo are currently three decades later. Showrunner/Creator Tze Chun has created a show that takes us back to Shanghai in the 1930s.  

It’s in Shanghai we meet the Wing family, who runs a local Haberdashery.  After a series of events the youngest of the Wing’s, Sam (Izaac Wang) ends up with a Mogwai – not just any Mogwai but Gizmo.  Taking Gizmo from Elle (Gabrielle Nevaeh Green) a young orphan in the service of the evil Magician Riley Greene (Matthew Rhys).  Sam’s parents Hon (BD Wong) and Fong (Ming-Na Wen) want nothing to do with the “monster” or “dog” seeing it as a bad omen.  It is only Grandpa (James Hong) that understands how important it is to get Gizmo back home.  Armed with his wits, his grandfather’s book of adventures and demonology, Sam, Gizmo, and Elle venture deep into the Chinese countryside to get Gizmo back home safely – with Greene quickly on their tail. 

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai finds fertile ground for both Mogwai, Gremlins, Humans, and more.  Not even a conventional prequel, the series gives us an adventure-based monster-of-the-week style show.  One where the Gremlins and Mogwai are allowed to be as cute, funny, creepy, and just on the cusp (sometimes a little over) of being R-Rated Naughty.  Tze and Company have created a show that goes beyond just Gremlin and Mogwai and introduces one to the mythological and spiritual citizens of Chinese Demonology and Myth.  

Tze and his writing staff, animators, and voice actors have given their all here.  The result is something altogether beautiful, unique, and quirky in the way that Dante’s love of Looney Tunes will be scratched.  They’ve packed enough twists, turns, adroit reveals, and mythology that it actually services and gives us context for Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch in a way that average viewers would not have thought.  Much like the two feature films, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is always pushing the envelope of the gross and horror aspects to make it just the right amount of adult and mature to keep any adults entertained.

The biggest compliment that one can give to Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is that it not only lives up to the originals but enriches them in a way that one only hopes other prequels, sequels, reboots, and reimaginations would attempt.  In that regard, it’s a smashing success. 

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai premieres TUESDAY, MAY 23 on Max.

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