New season of Bojack Horseman hits Netflix with a bang


Emma Seely, Managing Editor

On Oct. 25, Netflix released the first half of the sixth and final season for their original comedy, “Bojack Horseman.” With eight episodes being released now and eight more coming to the streaming platform on January 31, this final season of the critically acclaimed animated horse show will be the series’ longest yet. But will it live up to, or even surpass, the hype of its predecessors? Judging by the impression left by the first half of the season, it seems likely. 


The show stars comedian Will Arnett as the voice of Bojack, a former Hollywood (or Hollywoo, for those in the know) celebrity who now struggles with alcohol dependency, emotional damage from childhood trauma, and self-destructive properties that cause him to ruin nearly every positive opportunity he’s offered. And, he’s a talking horse. This tricky mix of sad, emotionally driven storytelling combined with a brightly animated world in which humans and talking animals live equally is one of the show’s most striking elements. Throughout the series, each half-hour episode is absolutely packed with visual, animal-based puns, goofy humor, and enough serious, dramatic moments to give the viewer whiplash, in the best possible way. So, it comes as no surprise that this final season has already begun to go for broke, taking its viewers on the journey of a lifetime right along with its characters. 


Each of the eight episodes here feels like a mini revelation. The viewer is treated to a frequently shifting focus, allowing each of the show’s excellent supporting characters to shine in their own narratives while also furthering that of Bojack. Timelines change, flashbacks are shown frequently, and the heavily L.A based narrative does something that it has done only sparingly in the past: it travels. This season the viewer spends almost as much time in Chicago as they do in LA, and the narrative is richer for it. Not to mention the humor, which is bigger, faster and not always sillier, but possibly even more connected to the bigger issues at hand. Bojack has always been a satire, but this season it seems to be offering several different satirical takes at any given time. This would all be rather overwhelming if the writing here wasn’t so intelligent. Hardly a word is wasted this season. If the writers are going out, then they’re doing it with a bang. 


Although “Bojack” has never shied away from topical issues, this first half of the season feels urgent in a way that the show has never seen before. There’s depression, alcoholism, corporate greed, unionization and abuse to talk about, and there are only eight short episodes to do it. Most salient, though, is the absolutely decimating look at what it’s like to be a woman, with issues ranging from the myth of the working mom “doing it all” to Hollywood’s refusal to fully invest in female-led stories, to the aftermath of suffering abuse at the hands of someone who you once trusted. One of “Bojack”’s strong points has always been the way that it distances itself from the typical “anti-hero” narrative, read the narrative of a middle-aged man doing bad things and talking to other men about it. On “Bojack”, female characters are just as interesting, complicated and problematic as the protagonist. This season, the viewer is reminded of this fact constantly. 


Only time will tell if this final season can successfully wrap up a series that is like nothing else on TV, and never has been. But as for now, it seems like we are well on our way to an ending that leaves the viewer breathless. What’s going to happen next, and is it going to make us laugh, cry and grasp onto the edge of our seats in the desperate hope that Bojack and his friends will end up okay? All I can say is January 31 can’t come soon enough.