Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Shape Island: Creepy Cave Crawl, on Apple TV+

If you do not enjoy Halloween, you’re a square. That is literally true in this very young-skewing Apple TV+ series. In a Three Bears-like distribution, Square is miserable during Halloween, Triangle loves the holiday, especially the tricks, while Circle enjoys celebrating in responsible moderation. Circle will most likely have the right approach in Shape Island’s holiday special, “Creepy Cave Crawl,” which premieres this Friday on Apple TV+.

Basically, this is a late bonus episode for season one of
Shape Island, but it is still nice to see Apple semi-revive the tradition of the animated holiday special (remember the B.C. Easter special?). The scares are all very gentle, but Triangle is still cruising for a Halloween bruising. Circle is usually more indulgent of his monster-themed pranks, but he is really pushing it this year. In fact, when he repurposes all the holiday jam she and Square just finished making for his haunted cave tour, they both storm out in a huff. That leaves Triangle alone with all the cave’s spooky inhabitants, who had been quietly watching them.

Of course, there is no gore or serious peril in “Creepy Cave Crawl.” At least this special is also refreshingly free of woke messaging and virtue signaling (I can’t vouch for the rest of the series). There is also enough pumpkin spice and innocent Halloween cos play to satisfy young viewers’ seasonal expectations.

The character designs (adapted from Jon Klassen’s illustrations for Barnett’s books) are obviously very simple, but they have distinct personalities. For older viewers, just seeing a Halloween special is sort of nostalgic. It makes you hungry for Dolly Madison Zingers. Nice and age-appropriate, “Creepy Cave Crawl” is recommended for kids when it starts streaming Friday (10/20) on Apple TV+.