It’s a blessing that anthology stories on television have their moment. But it also means that all new additions to the genre have to bring their A-Games. In the case of the Disney+ adaptation of R. L. Stine’s graphic novel Just Beyond, the series brings together a group of talented young actors. And helps adults bring a bag of slightly ghosted stories to life with mixed results.
The series, created by Seth Graham-Smith (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”):
It consists of eight stand-alone episodes that individually cover various youth-oriented topics. Including dealing with anxiety, coping with grief, abuse, and danger from social media.
There are no connecting lines for stories or recurring characters. But as in the Twilight Zone, there are often supernatural or unnatural threads. However, this classic, which is also popular with families. And still serves as a great introduction to the scary ticket. It is much more powerful and clever when it comes to storytelling.
The best thing about Just Beyond is that the episodes rely on the talent of the cast. “Leave the Children Alone” features Mackenna Grace’s confident performance. As a rebellious newcomer who is sent to Miss Genevieve’s School for Difficult Girls. Which is run by headmaster Nasim Pedrad A. The two asses happily produce hilarious battles of will everywhere.
Perhaps the best record is “Which Witch,” which stars the incredibly talented teenage girl Rachel Marsh. Who is just trying to blend in with the ordinary people at her school. His comedy times and line readings are fun to watch. And he sells his concepts to “weird” teens who love all his quirks.
David Katzenberg directed two other notable episodes.
“Stand up for yourself” works because of its famous atmosphere, which warmly shapes how a small town is terrorized by the stupid hooligan Trevor Larkin (Cyrus Arnold). Then he makes “My Monster” the only genuinely terrifying episode in the band, making some spooky jumps as he explores the creeping fears of a young girl adapting to moving to a new city amid her parents’ divorce. It’s funny, and some weird comedic beats fit it perfectly.
The rest of the stories fall under the “also on the nose” category, with the warning scenarios mostly played out very broadly, as in “Parents are from Mars, children are from Venus” or “Unfiltered”. Even with the conservative parameters of Disney’s story about their family ticket, that doesn’t mean stories have to be blunt to sell their lessons. Teens and tweens are smart enough to pick up on nuance, and these stories could benefit from trusting their audience more.
Just Beyond is a collection of moral snippets aimed at young adults.
The concept works best when the script has a strong point of view that the director and cast passionately execute. But in general, RL Stein’s work should introduce children to the horror genre, including the shy ones.
However, this adaptation has more to do with the moral of their story than it does with spine-chilling. It’s undoubtedly a solid family look for a niche audience between the ages of 10 and 12, but teens growing up on more mature foods go far beyond what’s on offer here.
R. L. Stine fans will love this terrifying series. There’s enough fright to stir up the twins, but they’re (likely) not going to chase them any further if they turn the show-off. Each episode of the anthology is more like a mini-film with an adult world and characters. Will attract teenagers to this view of high school life. While there’s an additional layer of aliens in the Twilight Zone, the characters also face real problems that all children face as they grow up. Teens who like to be a little scared will enjoy Just Beyond, and the well-crafted story makes it a great candidate for family watching, too.