In only about 18 months, DreamWorks Animation and producers Brendan Hay and Aliki Theofilopoulos have delivered 52 episodes of neighborhood fun, fantasy, and friendships in Harvey Girls Forever. The fourth–and likely final (at least as far as the core series is concerned)–season arrived on Netflix today, featuring the continued adventures of Lotta (Lauren Lapkus), Audrey (Stephanie Lemelin), and Dot (Kelly McCreary) along with their new pal Richie Rich (Jack Quaid) and some surprising new additions to Harvey Street … and beyond!
In Season 4, Harvey Girls Forever continues the trend that’s made it such a successful contemporary adaptation of the classic Harvey Comics characters. Each episode and story segment features wildly imaginative and highly entertaining plots that find the title team getting into and out of trouble with their many friends. With the recent introduction of Richie Rich, the Harvey Street Kids have been able to go farther than just the limits of their block, and their adventures go higher, faster, and bigger than ever before. Season 4 takes viewers to Australia to wild out with some dingoes, into VR to live out their wildest imaginations, and even into a super-spooky parallel street that happens to be the home of one very friendly ghost.
And yet Harvey Girls Forever manages to get a heartload of emotionally resonant character beats into each episode, no matter how zany the adventures get. Richie Rich, an uber-rich tech genius who missed out on the formative parts of his childhood, struggles early on to wrangle his overwhelming emotions as he learns to be a kid; Audrey gets some moments of self-reflection when her wild ways pale in comparison to some even wilder characters, who make her realize just how frustrating her behavior can be for Dot and Lotta. Other examples abound, but they’re best experienced by watching the show itself. What remains constant is a theme of cooperation as the Harvey Street Kids help each other though whatever particular problem plagues them at the time.
One such problem requires the whole team to solve: The arrival of Casper the Friendly Ghost (Bobby Moynihan) and his quest to become a more fearsome force. As with other solutions to problems in Harvey Girls Forever, the team approaches it from an unexpected angle with intriguing results. (And for fans of Casper the Friendly Ghost out there, you’ll be treated to Easter eggs and other familiar ghostly faces, so keep an eye out!) It’s a delightful one-off episode. While we don’t get a lot of Casper this season, the brief time we do get is worth it.
Season 4 delivers some other fun solo episodes, like Lotta’s Chanukah special and a non-Casper spooky story centered on campfire tales, but overall this season likes to look back on the adventures that the Harvey Street Kids have had together over the previous 50 or so episodes; the series finale really embraces this idea.
Things are about to change in a big way on Harvey Street. That change causes everyone to think back on their time together and celebrate it in the only way that they can, through a massive musical number! This sequence was an absolute delight and deserves another watch if only to appreciate the sheer amount of talent that went into pulling it off. The musical production, the animation with plenty of callbacks to adventures passed, and the emotional tone of the whole thing that has to tie the season and the series off with a bow (but not The Bow, who also gets some stand-out moments this season, of course) all came together fantastically well.
If this is the end of Harvey Girls Forever as we know it, it’s a fitting send off. Here’s hoping we see more adventures in some way, shape, or form in the future!
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Harvey Girls Forever also stars Atticus Shaffer (The Middle), Danny Pudi (Community), Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project), Grey Griffin (Fairly OddParents), and Cree Summer (The Spongebob Movie). Season 3 guest stars include Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Kristen Chenoweth (Wicked), Academy Award-winner Nat Faxon (The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants), and Davey Havok (Lead vocalist AFI). Harvey Girls Forever is available to stream on Netflix in its entirety now; watch here!