Synopsis: Scott Pilgrim meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, and discovers he must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her. But this time, things get even more complicated. Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, SCOTT PILGRIM TAKES OFF revisits and reimagines the beloved cult classic, taking Ramona Flowers, her evil exes, Scott, and his friends off on a mysterious new action-packed journey to find love.

Format: 8 Episodes Released At Once

Director: Abel Gongora

Writers: Bryan Lee O’Malley, BenDavid Grabinski

Executive Producers: Bryan Lee O’Malley, BenDavid Grabinski, Marc Platt, Jared LeBoff, Adam Siegel, Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright, Nira Park, Eunyoung Choi

Network: Netflix

Season Premiere: November 17, 2023

Episodes Watched: 8 of 8

In 2009, I binge-read all volumes of the Scott Pilgrim comic by Brian Lee O’Malley following news that Edgar Wight was adapting the film, which would be released in 2010. I loved these comics, and in 2010, I adored the film that was released with all the stylised fights, video game references and wild anime-inspired fight scenes. However, in 2023, I’m in my 30s, wondering if the world of Scott Pilgrim could interest me again. Years ago, I realised that Scott kind of sucks. The slacker vibes were somewhat relatable when I was 18, but not so much now. Surprisingly, the Netflix adaptation has heard my worries and taken them head-on. This isn’t a re-tread; it’s almost as if the series is made for the fans who were young adults when the original comics and movie were released. 

But as I’m sure Julie Powers would tell me: “Shut the f**k up, Dylan!”

Our adventure starts the same: Scott Pilgrim, a slacker, meets Ramona Flowers at a party. She’s this beautiful scene-girl who — in our Netflix version of the story is delivering Netflix DVDs, not Amazon orders. Scott orders a DVD to see her again, and the two strike off a romance with literal sparks. What Scott needs to prepare for, though, is that Ramona Flowers has baggage in the form of the League of Evil Exes, all of whom Scott has to fight to continue to date Ramona. 

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (L to R) Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram, Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, Mae Whitman as Roxie Richter, Julian Cihi as Kyle Katayanagi and Ken Katayanagi in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

Comic writer and Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley shakes things up with this series alongside co-writer and co-series showrunner BenDavid Grabinski. It’s not done in a way that makes it seem like O’Malley, now 44, has any regrets about his work on Scott Pilgrim. Still, this series is most definitely enabling him to add a second layer, or in some cases, a much-needed first layer, to many of the series’ core and supporting characters. 

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off . Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

For most of the comic and movie adaption, Ramona Flowers is just the girl a guy is fighting for; she’s the reward. Here, Ramona is the hero of her own story, fighting for her beliefs. More importantly, the added context and personality given to the Seven Evil Exes themselves allows all of them, along with Ramona, to, at times, break more ground on their past issues. There isn’t a single ‘villain’ here that doesn’t get some more story and character work in previous iterations of the Scott Pilgrim story. Matthew Patel, in particular, as the first Evil Ex, gets additional time here, and it’s used fantastically. On the opposite end, Gideon Graves, the leader of the ex-club, is given a reason for the audience to think of him as something more than a one-note supervillain.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off . Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

The two most prominent examples of how well this series uses its re-structuring and new take on the Scott Pilgrim material is how Knives Chau and Young Neil are used. Both are nothing but jokes in the source material. Chau is the 16-year-old girlfriend of Scott — an odd relationship, with an age gap that is finally addressed in this series — and Young Neil is the one-liner dope that’s somehow even more naive and clueless than Scott. Both play much more important roles in the story now and get much-needed singular narratives and reasons to exist within this expanded universe outside of them being rings surrounding the planet Scott Pilgrim.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. Ellen Wong as Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off . Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

When the first clip of the Scott Pilgrim Takes Off series was released by Netflix online, I was iffy about the animation. In action, the work of director Abel Gongora and the team at Science SARU is everything I could have asked for in an animated Scott Pilgrim adaptation. If the fight scenes are what you’re looking forward to seeing the most, the team behind DEVILMAN Crybaby do not disappoint, elevating the action to a degree that couldn’t have been done in live-action. Pair that with the music by Anamanaguchi, who worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, and here, re-use some of the best songs from the game in new and exciting scenes, and it’s a recipe for some of your favourite animated scenes of 2023. 

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (L to R) Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

The entire team of actors from the 2010 film are reprising their roles for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. It was a pitch-perfect cast then, and it’s only better with the updated direction of the series. If you loved Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers, Satya Bhabha as Matthew Patel, Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells, Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, Anna Kendrick as Stacey Pilgrim, Brie Larson as Envy Adams, Alison Pill as Kim Pine, Aubrey Plaza as Julie Powers, Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram, Jason Schwartzman as Gideon Graves, Johnny Simmons as Young Neil, Mark Webber as Stephen Stills, Mae Whitman as Roxie Richter, Ellen Wong as Knives Chau and Julian Cihi as Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, you’re going to love hearing them as these characters one again, bringing new life and emotion to these characters they haven’t touched in over ten years.

At its simplest, this is a soda-pop animated series that flows from one episode to another, pulling you in with a new spin each time. I can’t wait to discuss the series more with people as they watch the episodes. I’m especially interested to hear from those, like myself, who had thought their love for Scott Pilgrim may have worn off with age.