Starting on Disney + July 7th, 2021, comes the first attempt at a direct follow-up to their beloved Monsters Inc., Monsters at Work. This time audiences are dropped into the world of Monsters Inc. via a 10 part television series, which begins the very next day after Waternoose has been fired and the company has transitioned from Scare Power to Laugh Power. The film introduces a group of new characters in the form of the MIFT crew (Monsters Inc. Facilities Team) but also keeps some familiar faces around.
After being hired directly out of Monster’s University, Tylor Tuskman (Ben Feldman) shows up to Monsters Inc. for his first day as a scarer to find the company in disarray as they are in full change over mode after the events of the original film. Unsure where to put a new scarer when there is no more need for scares, Tuskman ends up assigned to the facilities team since his parents owned a hardware store.
The MIFT crew, who call themselves MIFTers, consists of Val (Mindy Kaling), a former classmate of Tylor’s, Duncan (Lucas Neff), Cutter (Alanna Ubach), Banana Bread (Dee Bradley Baker) and is lead by Fritz (Henry Winkler). Meanwhile Roz (Bob Paterson), after outing herself as an undercover agent in the film, now informs Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) that they have been out in charge of the entire company, and her sister Roze (also Bob Paterson) will be replacing her. Mike’s schmoopsy Celia Mae (Jennifer Tilly) also returns, though with a promotion.
The first 2 episodes (which was the extent critics were given for review and will both be available as of July 7th) are used mainly to move the characters away from the world in which the movie inhabits and set up how the series will take place. It’s a familiar setup, the new guy gets stationed with the oddball yet loveable goofs and immediately wants out. However, we know he’s eventually going to fall in love with everyone and not want to leave, bread crumbs of which permeate the second episode in particular. But while the premise is very much an overused trope, the voice work from the actors is above par for a spinoff TV animated series, and Pixar has not lost their humor along the way.
Having Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Jennifer Tilly all back voicing their original characters goes a very long way to legitimizing this series before it even begins. All 3 slip back into their roles much like an old pair of shoes. But Mike and Sully are very much background characters this time around. And while they figure fairly prominently in the first 2 episodes, only time will tell if they are that prominent for the whole series. The series centers around Tylor this time around and choosing a fairly ordinary guy surrounded by oddballs to be voiced by Feldman, a fairly ordinary guy surrounded by oddballs in Superstore is a perfect fit. In fact, most of the voices are great here. Plus having people like Bonnie Hunt, Alfred Molina, Curtis Armstrong and Aisha Tyler showing up as recurring supporting characters certainly helps too.
The promise of the first 2 episodes have us holding out hope that the rest of the series will also be good. But with the track record, Disney + is racking up with other series like The Bad Batch, WandaVision, Loki, Mysterious Benedict Society, hell, even the Mighty Ducks: Game Changers was some nostalgia fuelled fun, it’s hard not to bank on Monsters at Work being a grand sucess. But the real question still looms large over the series, will we get the return of Boo? I guess you’ll have to tune in each Wednesday to find out.
- Rated: G
- Genre: Animated, TV Series
- Release Date: 7/7/2021
- Directed by: Kate Good, Rob Gibbs, Stephen J Anderson
- Starring: Aisha Tyler, Alanna Ubach, Alfred Molina, Ben Feldman, Billy Crystal, Bob Paterson, Bonnie Hunt, Curtis Armstrong, Dee Bradley Baker, Henry Winkler, Jennifer Tilly, John Goodman, Lucas Neff, Mindy Kaling
- Produced by: Ferrell Barron, Kathleen Shugrue, Melissa Kurtz, Roberts Gannaway, Sean Lurie
- Written by: Pete Docter, Roberts Gannaway
- Studio: Disney, Disney Pixar, Disney Television Studios