The Spiderwick Chronicles: Roku’s Most Ambitious Series Till Date Opens to Depressing Reviews After Disney Abandoned The Project

The Spiderwick Chronicles, streaming on Roku, is off to a slow start in terms of reviews from critics.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Roku’s Most Ambitious Series Till Date Opens to Depressing Reviews After Disney Abandoned The Project

SUMMARY

  • The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the novels of the same name, is a brand new series that is streaming on Roku.
  • The show was originally ordered by Disney+ before the platform stepped down.
  • This rejection is based on new policies that involve cost cutting, profitability, and the nature of content that the streaming giant was looking to curate.
  • Based on this, The Spiderwick Chronicles did not make the cut with Disney.
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The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the fantasy adventure novels by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, premiered on Roku on April 19th, 2024. The extremely successful children’s books has been adapted into a series consisting of 8 episodes and stars Joy Bryant and Christian Slater as the central characters.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles
A still from The Spiderwick Chronicles (image credit: Roku)

Interestingly, the show was originally picked up by Disney+ before the platform decided to step back reportedly owing to cost-cutting measures and differences of opinion regarding the content. Despite high expectations, the show has unfortunately failed to impress critics who do not seem to have felt the impact of the novels.

Why Did Disney Plus Let Go Of The Spiderwick Chronicles?

Much like the Harry Potter novels, The Spiderwick Chronicles, written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, have transported children and young adults into a fantasy world of adventure and mystery. The books have now been adapted into a series consisting of 8 episodes which premiered on Roku on the 19th of April, 2024.

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Christian Slater
Christian Slater in The Spiderwick Chronicles (image credit: Roku)

The story follows the journey of the Grace siblings, who move into their ancestral home in Michigan with their mother following their parents’ divorce, and discover many mysteries, secrets, and strange happenings within the walls of the mansion. The show also stars Christian Slater who plays a renowned therapist.

The series which is currently streaming on Roku, was originally ordered and picked up by Disney+. Unexpectedly, the platform chose to step down and not proceed with the show. According to a report by Deadline, this is a part of Disney’s new policy of cutting down programming costs with an eye to increase profits.

In addition, the production giant has also taken specific decisions on the kind of content that it wants to curate going forward. In August 2023, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy made a statement (via Deadline) that elaborated on these policies.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation. As a result, we will be removing certain content from our streaming platforms, and currently expect to take an impairment charge of approximately $1.5 to $1.8 billion.”

But Paramount Studios, which is one of the production houses involved in bankrolling the show, was quick to find an alternative platform in Roku. In a statement to Deadline, Brian Tannenbaum, Head of Originals at Roku Media, expressed his pleasure through a statement that read,

“It is an honor to bring The Spiderwick Chronicles, a spectacular adventure-filled story led by the incredible Christian Slater and Joy Bryant, exclusively to The Roku Channel. We cannot wait to introduce this exquisitely crafted series, imagined by a world-class creative team, to millions of streamers.”

The Spiderwick Chronicles, which is also executive produced by the two novelists DiTerlizzi and Black, has been hailed by Roku as the platform’s most ambitious series till date. Unfortunately it has not found favor with critics judging by the initial reviews since its release.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Does Not Impress Critics

The mystical and magical world created by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black in The Spiderwick Chronicles, has now been visualized into a series which is currently streaming on Roku. The show stars Christian Slater and Joy Bryant among others, and follows three young siblings and their adventures in a new town.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles
A scene from The Spiderwick Chronicles (image credit: Roku)

Unfortunately, the series isn’t receiving as much love as the novels, which became very popular across the country. Following its premier on April 19th, the show is being panned by critics for various aspects. A review in Variety stated that the narrative did not have the whimsical spark that would appeal to the new generation of young adults.

The article also criticized the impact of special effects and other visual techniques that did not quite make for edge-of-the-seat action. In addition, questions were raised about the monotonous pacing of the 45-minute episodes that curbed the excitement factor a little bit.

An analysis in The Hollywood Reporter also echoed some of the above sentiments while adding that the underdevelopment of characters resulted in the narrative not finding its feet. The review also criticized the series for not trying to push the envelope in terms of creating a darker tone for the modern palate as opposed to going with the children-centric narrative in the novels.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles is streaming on Roku.

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Written by Sharanya Sankar

Articles Published: 1106

Sharanya Sankar, Writer for Fandomwire
Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sharanya has a solid foundation in writing which is also one of her passions. She has worked previously with Book My show for a couple of years where she gained experience reviewing films and writing feature articles. Sharanya’s articles on film and pop culture have also been published on Film Companion, a popular film-based website. Apart from movies and pop culture, her interests include music and sports. She has contributed over 650 articles to Fandomwire so far.