Monday, August 24, 2015
I watched the premier episode of the new TV show Blunt Talk. It is the Patrick Stewart vehicle on Starz. Stewart plays a pompous cable news network commentator (Walter Blunt) who has numerous personal problems including alcoholism, drugs, several ex-wives and poor TV ratings. The first show opens with Stewart being arrested for DUI and solicitation of a transgender hooker. The rest of the show is about damage control and of course introducing several of the recurring players. The characters are mostly the crew that works on his TV show such as producer, writers, etc. Blunt also has a manservant who takes care of his every need. Apparently Harry, the servant/aide, and Blunt served in the British military together. Harry addresses Blunt as Major.
This is a very broad and over the top comedy. The arrest scene is way over the top as is the preparation and execution of Blunt's first show after the arrest. Some of it was funny and some was just so ridiculous it made me cringe. Blunt is so flawed and his staff so incompetent that it is impossible to believe he ever got his own network show or managed to stay out of jail.
There were a few subtle bits in this first show. Brent Spiner (Data on Star Trek NG) was the piano player in the bar Blunt got drunk in. Richard Lewis plays the psychiatrist which is ironic because Lewis is an emotional wreck in both his real life and stage persona. Blunt works for the UBS Network, the same network Howard Beale (Peter Finch) worked for in the movie classic Network.
Patrick Stewart can certainly play a pompous British character. I thought some of his comedy lines were delivered with an extra side of ham. As for the other players, none of them had much air time in this first episode except for Harry (Adrian Scarborough). I didn't recognize any of the regular members of Blunt's TV staff.
It is always difficult to asses a new TV series from one episode, especially the premier show since valuable time is usually spent trying to establish the premise and the characters. I think this show has some potential so I will probably tune in for another episode or two. I'll reserve judgement and final grade for Blunt Talk until then.
If you are expecting a version of Jean-Luc Picard or some Shakespearean character from Sir Patrick Stewart you will be disappointed. On the other hand if you like your comedy lead to be of the scenery chewing variety you may enjoy this.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. It's only a 30 minute show.