There are TV projects that, upon being announced, cause people to ask, "Why?" Others have fans wondering, "How?" Netflix's adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham managed to raise both questions when it was given the green light. "Why is this the Dr. Seuss book chosen for a TV adaptation?" "How on Earth can you make a book about a man ranting about not liking breakfast into a 13-episode adventure series?" They're all valid questions, to be fair. Not that any form of art needs to justify its own existence, but an adaptation of a title loved by so many should at least explain what it's going for when stretching its source material so far. Green Eggs and Ham does just that over the course of its 13 episodes, answering all questions of its existence and adding to the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss.
The Seuss book is simple: Sam I Am begs Guy Am I to try Green Eggs and Ham, but Guy insists that, no matter how or where he tries them, he wants no part of the dish. That's essentially how the Green Eggs and Ham series begins. Sam (Adam Devine) runs into Guy (Michael Douglas) at a diner and insists he try the green eggs and ham. Things grow exponentially from there, as the archetypal buddy comedy duo accidentally become intertwined and set off on an adventure together, trying to lead an endangered animal back home.
At the start, Green Eggs and Ham is light and heartfelt, if not a little lacking in story, but it's Seussian through and through. It's bright, colorful, silly, full of hope, and animated to evoke the classic hand-drawn style of the Doctor's work. That said, there doesn't seem to be much going on beneath the surface. Kids will love it but it'll be hard for accompanying adults to invest much attention. That changes in the back half of the season, when Green Eggs and Ham surprisingly evolves into something much more.
The final stretch of the series deals with the complications of human relationships, and the negative effects that come with lying to someone you're supposed to love. There are also a couple of substantial twists over the last few episodes that are fully earned and will undoubtedly drop the jaws of children watching. These characters actually learn from their mistakes and are forced to confront what they fear, something that you don't see too much of in standard children's TV.
There's still the issue of the source material to consider, but the show's incorporation of the book might be its most clever attribute. Think back to the original Green Eggs and Ham and how Sam I Am offers breakfast to Guy Am I in a house, on a boat, with a fox, and in a variety of other ways. The series takes those little ideas and works them into its narrative. Sam's obsession with green eggs and ham (the source of which is a pretty heartbreaking reveal) spills over into his journey with Guy. There is an entire episode about a fox, and breakfast is naturally worked into it. The same can be said for the episodes featuring a boat, a house, a mouse, here, there, and anywhere. As weird as it sounds, the inclusion of the poem, as well as the actual green eggs and ham, is rather charming.
Netflix's Green Eggs and Ham is well worth the watch, especially if you're watching with kids. It'll raise questions for them about trying new things, and it'll make parents wonder whether or not they're trying too hard to shield their kids from the unknown. Most importantly, this series is beyond faithful to the work of Dr. Seuss, and that's probably the best compliment I could give it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Green Eggs and Ham debuts on Netflix on November 8th.