Bee And PuppyCat Review: A Whimsical, Gorgeous Series Fans Have Been Waiting For

Things have been better for Bee. When we first meet her, the twenty-something is working at an adorable cat café. Unfortunately for Bee, she won't be for much longer — a fire breaks out and she's quickly dismissed from her job. She's keen to find more work so she can, you know, stay alive, but what she'll really miss from her job is all the glorious cats she fell in love with. While walking home, she comments on how she wants an animal to take care of. Just like that, from the sky, comes PuppyCat — not quite a cat, not quite a dog, but entirely adorable.

It's about to get weirder — Bee's quest for work isn't fruitful, but thanks to PuppyCat her fortunes are about to change. You see, PuppyCat can transport to alternate dimensions, taking Bee to visit Tempbot, an epic being that looks like a large screen with a little smiley face, who is capable of delegating all sorts of temp jobs to Bee in the almighty quest for any semblance of financial security.

These temp jobs may sound like a bore, but these are no simple cleaning tasks or food delivery gigs. Instead, the pair travel to different planets to complete odd jobs. Odd is the key word here — the quests vary wildly from having to take down a vicious spider-like woman to opening a giant soda can as the inhabitants of the planet's fingers are too small to open it. The unique temp-work structure allows the structure of the show to feel familiar and surprising at the same time. It doesn't stagnate, even in its slower, more contemplative moments. Because each of the worlds the duo travels to is visually distinct, it keeps things invigorating.

If all of this sounds strangely familiar, that's because it is — "Bee and PuppyCat" has actually been around for nearly a decade. The original web pilot aired all the way back in 2013 before a Kickstarter funded a first season which wrapped in 2016. It's been an awfully long wait for more "Bee and PuppyCat," but the wait is finally over, as the show's eagerly awaited second season has been picked up by Netflix. You actually don't need to go hunting for the first season on YouTube (though you should, it's great), as the first three of Netflix's 16 episodes are actually a remade version of the entire first season. So, to quickly summarize: the first three episodes are essentially the season 1 remix, while the next 13 episodes are brand spanking new "Bee and PuppyCat."

The show has quite a cult following, and there was even a comic book adaptation that ran from 2014 to 2016. I'm thrilled to say that the second season, as well as the lovely three remixed episodes, are excellent. The series stays true to everything that makes the web series special while expanding the universe to some fantastic new locations and heartwarming new characters. Newcomers will likely be surprised by the pace of "Bee and PuppyCat," which is considerably more calming and slower than you may expect from the typical animated fare. It may be off-putting to some, but I found the relaxed pacing of the show refreshing, and everything simply feels lived in.

A fantasy that understands reality

The more I watched "Bee and PuppyCat," the more I understood the show's passionate fandom. It's incredibly sweet and gorgeous, but it also speaks to the millennial malaise so many of us struggle with. You don't need me to tell you this, but I will anyway — things in the world don't feel great right now. Endless inflation means costs are constantly on the rise while wages remain low, our parents walking out of university and into their first home is very much a fantasy of a bygone generation, and the job market is precarious at best. While the media seems to blame us for everything from eating too much avocado on toast to not going out to restaurants enough, to going out too much, things are crumbling around us. And don't even get me started on global warming.

These are all concerns that are baked into the very fabric of "Bee and PuppyCat." Bee gets fired in the first episode of the series and visits an employment center only to be told that she's never managed to keep a steady job, and the agent can't believe just how "unskilled" Bee is. She doesn't own her apartment and pays rent (she also owes a lot of back rent, her child landlord Cardamon informs her), and she relies on a robot to dish out temp jobs to make ends meet. It's this acute understanding of what so many people of our generation experience on a daily basis that makes "Bee and Puppy" feel so relatable — an impressive feat considering these characters do things that are often so far outside of the normal human experience.

The show takes these challenges and places them in a warm, relaxing embrace. When I watched "Bee and PuppyCat," my problems didn't feel so overwhelming for once. In a world where things feel increasingly impossible, the show manages to make things feel like everything is gonna be okay.

Bee is a wonderful character that I want to protect at all costs. She's happiest around cats and simply wants to hang out at home, be lazy and watch television. The show helps you root for her from the first moment, as she's fired from her job at the cat café after covering for her friend Deckard. As a cat dad to two lovely old ladies (Gloria and Jolene, thanks for asking) who also would much rather watch TV than anything else, I could very much relate to Bee's impulses and characteristics. She enjoys it because it distracts her — "I don't like looking at the ocean, it makes me think about stuff," Bee reveals, and truer words have rarely been spoken. There's a quietly powerful moment when Bee walks past her old job, and is torn between her desire to see the new kittens and her fears and anxieties about running into the man who fired her. Of course, you won't need to love cats (why don't you though?) or have a cat to care about Bee, but considering my cat was purring next to me during my viewing experience, it certainly helps.

Boundless charm and beauty

"Bee and PuppyCat" is an enchanting dream that speaks directly to my own anxieties, but also the concerns of an entire generation in a way that never feels preachy, patronizing, or insincere. I fell for this easy, relaxing world full of charming characters and visual nods to things like Studio Ghibli, "Neon Genesis Evangelion," "Steven Universe," "Sailor Moon," and so many more giving animation fans plenty of goodies to sink their teeth into. As a fan of animation myself I felt deeply satisfied, but what really charmed me was the way the storytelling manages to feel both relaxed and adventurous.

Whimsy is definitely the name of the game in "Bee and PuppyCat." The animation style is sweet, soft, and colorful, featuring simple and effective character designs. It's all sort of reminiscent of Ghibli meets chibi figures, and the result can't help but put a smile on your face. The costuming is creative and delightful, and traveling to different worlds allows for all sorts of fashionable, adorable looks. 

"Bee and PuppyCat" already looked great when it was a short-form series, but everything has been considerably amplified in the Netflix series. There's plenty more background detail, character animations are sharper, and the effects are vivid and impressive. Thankfully, it never compromises the charm of the original series, so fans and newcomers alike should be very pleased by the look of "Bee and Puppycat."

Times are tough, and there are few shows as warm, comforting, and in-tune with society as the surprisingly wonderful "Bee and PuppyCat." It's the television equivalent of a wholesome, comforting meal, and I only hope there's a chance to devour more of it in the future.

Bee and Puppycat's sixteen episodes stream on Netflix on September 6, 2022.