The Pitch: Within the spring of 2020, a Twitter dialog started about who is likely to be the most effective individual to steer a reboot of iconic detective sequence Columbo, and whereas Mark Ruffalo was talked about as an apparent contender, a galaxy brain-level thought emerged: What about Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne? Lyonne herself appeared very on board, and whereas that particular resurrection of IP by no means occurred, simply three years later we’ve got Poker Face, created by Glass Onion helmer Rian Johnson — an unique thriller drama full of nostalgia for what got here earlier than, with its personal particular trendy aptitude.
Starring Lyonne as Charlie, a “human lie detector” who makes use of her skill to smell out bullshit to function TV’s least probably detective, Poker Face is full of homages to the good ’70s and ’80s detective exhibits of yore. The brand new Peacock drama options extra visitor stars than we will simply checklist right here, whereas cementing Lyonne’s standing as one in all our most watchable actors, a really one-of-a-kind display expertise for whom this present has been tailor-made to perfection.
There’s One thing That Bothers Me… The pilot episode introduces each Charlie in addition to the present’s ongoing format, maybe the largest homage to the aforementioned Columbo: Every installment begins with a homicide being dedicated, which means that the viewer isn’t questioning whodunnit, however “howcatchem” — particularly, how Charlie will sniff out the reality, particularly after the episode skips backward in time to disclose simply how Charlie suits into the occasions we’ve already seen. (Whereas Johnson isn’t the official showrunner on the sequence — Nora and Lilla Zuckerman of Fringe and Prodigal Son are — he writes and directs a number of episodes, bringing with him an method we’re very aware of after watching Glass Onion.)
Whereas there’s a little bit of an overarching plot-line connecting these episodes, tied to the occasions of the pilot, the purpose here’s a return to traditional mystery-of-the-week TV, with huge visitor stars launched in each episode to anchor these tales.
The primary six episodes supplied for assessment embrace Chloë Sevigny because the frontwoman for a heavy steel band (which additionally consists of John Darnielle as a band member), Oscar nominee Hong Chau as an extended haul trucker, Judith Gentle and S. Epatha Merkerson as rebellious residents of a retirement neighborhood, and Tim Meadows and Ellen Barkin as light TV stars diminished to dinner theater.
Whereas all of the visitor stars are top-notch, the one occasional problem with this method is that of pacing — with homicide being a foregone conclusion, the viewers is of course desirous to see how Charlie suits into every new state of affairs being launched, and the payoff typically feels a bit lengthy to attend for. However it speaks to how naturally compelling Lyonne is within the function — arrange as anti-establishment however pro-justice, Charlie’s an instantly sympathetic protagonist, and the low-key swagger she brings to every state of affairs is addictive.