By, Phoenix Robertson
On April 8, 2023, a place of magic, wonder, inclusion, and love shut its demon-guarded doors for the last time. For those of you who aren’t well versed in the enchantment of Dana Terrace’s works, take this as a sign to go home and watch The Owl House.
The Owl House first premiered on Disney Channel in 2020. Throughout the show’s 3 year and 43 episode run, it showed the adventures of Luz Noceda, voiced by Sarah-Nicole Robles, a young teen girl who stumbles into a new world called the Boiling Isles. The Boiling Isles is home to all sorts of creatures, witches, wizards, demons, and monsters. Upon arrival in the Isles, Luz meets Eda the Owl Lady, whose voice was so expertly done by Wendie Malick; King or “The King of Demons”, who was voiced by the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch; Hooty, also voiced by Hirsch; along with many other creatures that the group encounters on their adventures. The show features carefully crafted characters with backgrounds that are a perfect mixture of fantasy and the real world (Eda is most certainly not the inspiration for my current Dungeons and Dragons character, but more on that later).
The concept of The Owl House revolves around a young human going to a new world and having to battle evil because humans are quite obviously the most capable to defend worlds against magical demonic threats. It’s been done. So. Many. Times. If the show had just been another fantasy show, I doubt I would have become so enthralled with its lore. What made, and still makes, The Owl House such a special show is the diversity that the show incorporated in such a normal way. Oftentimes when shows try to be diverse and inclusive, they end up sensationalizing the identities of the characters they create. The entire show becomes boiled down to: Character X is special. Look at this episode we made talking about them! No, it’s not good because it’s interesting, or because X is cool, but because they have identity Y. What then usually happens is that the character fades into the background until it becomes convenient for them to face some sort of discrimination or to help the story along using their unique identity. The Owl House didn’t do this; instead of itemizing people of color and individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community, the show shows them as people who are special because they exist. During the current television climate where being diverse just to check a box is in, this aspect of Owl House is very impressive.
It’s no secret that Dana Terrace had to fight in order to put The Owl House into existence. Throughout the creation of the show, Terrace allegedly faced backlash from Disney for the story line and characters presented in the series. “At the end of the day, there are a few business people who oversee what fits into the Disney brand and one day one of those guys decided [The Owl House] didn’t fit that ‘brand,'” is what Terrace told fans on a social media post in response to the series being canceled and forced to end early. I’m not here to define good guys and bad guys in the argument between The Owl House and Disney. Disney is a company with stocks and hundreds of thousands of employees. They want to make money and make media that will appeal to the majority of their long-standing audience. I applaud Terrace and the rest of The Owl House team for their work in crafting a diverse show and continuing to pave the way for more shows like this one to be created in the future. They tried to break down boundaries between what the station has shown and what they think it should be showing. Their goal is far from accomplished, and it will take the work of other activists and creators to be able to whittle down the somewhat unspoken boundaries of television. The show may not be getting any more new episodes, but The Owl House will always keep its door unlocked for new and old fans alike who are in search of quality animated television programming. Thank you, Owl House, for going against the grain and showing people around the world that you can be yourself and still live a happy life. Thanks for reading and above all, watch The Owl House.