Here’s the latest Disney+ YA adaptation, from a streaming service with no shortage of material for the youths. This new series stars Tony Hale of Arrested Development fame. Hale plays the mysterious Mr. Benedict, a crusader against a global crisis known simply as “The Emergency.”
Trenton Lee Stewart graduated from Hendrix College with a B.A. in English. He later received his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. Stewart went on to teach at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and at the Miami University of Ohio, in Cincinnati. While teaching he published his first novel Flood Summer in 2005, a stark difference from his following YA novels.
Flood Summer is a dark romance that takes place in the slums of Arkansas. A lonely young failure meets a fierce young woman trying to start over. Together they find redemption in confronting the darkness of their pasts.
Just two years later, Stewart published the first novel in what would become The Mysterious Benedict Society YA series.
The story is based on a book series by Trenton Lee Stewart that follows the adventures of four gifted orphans. The kids named themselves “The Mysterious Benedict Society” after the man who brought them together, the eccentric Mr. Benedict. What exactly is the mission? Save the world from a brainwashing campaign headed by Benedict’s slick evil twin, Ledroptha Curtain, played also by Hale.
Mr. Benedict rolls out a scholarship competition to scout the most talented kids for his espionage team. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance must infiltrate the L.I.V.E. institute, where Ledroptha Curtain is masterminding his plan to brainwash humanity.
The cast includes Mystic Inscho, Seth Carr, Emmy DeOliveira, and Marta Kessler as the band of prodigy spies. Each comes equipped with a unique talent. Sticky is a boy genius with eidetic memory, which means he can remember anything he’s ever seen. The stubborn and independent Constance can read people’s minds and send telepathic messages.
United by orphanhood, the children find a purpose for their gifts under Benedict’s guidance. But will they succeed in defeating Curtain’s plans for a new world order? You’ll have to get the kids together and dig into this Disney+ YA adaptation to find out.
Disney+ YA adaptation
The trailer released earlier this week shows Hale facing off against himself as fraternal enemies Benedict and Curtain. The mise-en-scene transports us to some undefined time in a parallel universe where everything looks mid-century retro. But there’s also weird technology and wacky gadgets. Hulu had originally intended to develop the series before Disney+ swooped on the rights late last year.
Executive producer Jamie Tarses was in charge of developing the series before tragically passing in February. The celebrity executive blazed new entertainment industry trails for women in the ‘90s by developing iconic shows Friends and Frasier. Her legacy spanned decades and culminated with Amazon’s 2020 show The Wilds which is into its second season.
Fans of YA fantasy should keep an eye out for The Mysterious Benedict Society series premiere June 25th on Disney+.
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