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Dead End: Paranormal Park Season 1 Review: A progressive and gripping story of teenagers finding themselves while battling demons

Two teenagers and a talking pug come together to battle demons at a haunted theme park

  • P Sangeetha

Last Updated: 03.19 PM, Jun 17, 2022

Dead End: Paranormal Park Season 1 Review: A progressive and gripping story of teenagers finding themselves while battling demons

A still from Dead End: Paranormal Park- Season 1

Story: Teenagers Barney and Norma become friends and battle vengeful spirits as they work together in a haunted theme park. During their time together, they battle their inner demons, discover love and friendship.

Review: Netflix’s latest offering, Dead End: Paranormal Park is the animated adaptation of creator Hamish Steele’s DeadEndia graphic novel series. The fantasy horror comedy series spanning ten episodes revolves around two teenagers Barney (voiced by Zach Barak) and Norma (Kody Kavitha) and Barney's pet dog, Pugsley (Alex Brightman). 

Barney and Norma are polar opposites who end up arriving for the same job interview at a haunted theme park. While Barney is an affable teenager, who has just come out as trans, he is having a tough time battling his inner demons so much so that he would rather run away from his home than confront his fear and insecurity. Norma, on the other hand, is a socially awkward teen, who finds it hard to talk to her colleagues, but gradually develops a friendship with Barney.Though both of them manage to get the job, which is initially meant for one, the demon king Temeluches possesses Barney's pet dog, Pugsley. Their lives take a completely different turn from then on. What makes the park interesting for Barney and Norma is that while Barney now has the option to stay away from his family, Normal is a huge fan of horror films, which means the park is a perfect fit for her. 

Pugsley not only begins talking after being possessed by Temeluches, but also accidentally unleashes a horde of old mascots on the park. Soon they befriend the thousand-year-old demon Courtney (Emily Osment) and set out to battle vengeful spirits. The trio along with Courtney, undertake huge challenges- battling the Night Hag demon, who turns children at a sleepover party into sleep-deprived zombies, travelling to the demon world and also investigating a series of strange disappearances from the park. They also fight against the long dead movie star Pauline Phoenix (Coco Peru), whose legacy lives on in the park and battle a mob of ancient demons who've turned all the park guests into stone.

In the first episode itself, the audience pretty much gets a picture of what the show has in store for them. As the trio takes on some difficult external challenges, they also battle their pent-up fear and insecurity, something that's common among teens, especially when they have decided to be on their own. Norma, at times, reminds one of the brilliant Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter, who knew her way around Hogwarts and magic spells. Here, Norma takes on the demons like a boss and knows how to get out of the most mysterious places in the park and in the most adverse circumstances. But, at the same time, when she realises that her favourite movie icon was not what she had thought to be, she is so stunned by the deceit that she breaks into tears. Norma is strong and weak at the same time. Barney, who has a difficult relationship with his parents and grandmother, eventually faces his fear and works his way around them.

The show also celebrates racial diversity (Norma is brown and has an Indian mother) and queer characters. Barney's infatuation with his colleague and crush Lobs (Kenny Tran) is an adorable sub-plot, which also drives home the point that homosexuality is normal. Pauline Phoenix also has a drag avatar. It's refreshing to see an animated series celebrating the LGBTQ community and the difficult world of teens.Teenagers finding themselves while battling demons is an interesting premise, which works quite well. 

Verdict: This progressive-minded series makes for an interesting watch!