If you went in and digitally eliminated all of the smartphones from Peacock’s new collection Poker Face, it may’ve aired proper alongside Columbo and The Rockford Files in a Nineteen Seventies NBC primetime lineup. Co-creators Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne mud off a creaky outdated format — the guest-star-studded thriller of the week — and put a trendy spin on it, delivering a noir-flavored, tongue-in-cheek homage to TV detective exhibits previous. Even when you weren’t born again then, although, Poker Face (debuting this Thursday; I’ve seen the primary 5 episodes) remains to be a unusual and intelligent good time, powered by one other charmingly irreverent efficiency from Lyonne.
Each episode of Poker Face is a brand new story with a brand new thriller and new suspects, with Lyonne’s Charlie serving because the connective tissue. We see the total crime first, identical to we did on Columbo, so there’s no actual suspense about whodunit, however we nonetheless need to see how Charlie will determine it out utilizing her superhuman lie-detecting abilities. After a premiere that’s densely full of clues and twists, Poker Face settles into an easygoing groove, with a laidback Lyonne setting the tone. We do get a bit of continuous plot with the aftermath from Reno, however principally, every week begins recent, like its personal mini film — which is actually a pleasant break from at this time’s overly serialized TV dramas.
Johnson, recent off the Netflix hit movie Glass Onion, directs the premiere, and his digital camera dances with nimble pans and zooms. The scripts are a hard-boiled throwback spiked with terse threats and dry humor, however Charlie performs the snarky, skeptical fly within the ointment, nearly like a modern-day time traveler who finds herself in a ’70s crime drama. As the collection’ lone star, Lyonne has to hold the entire thing on her shoulders — and he or she does so magnificently. She’s a brassy, ballsy delight as Charlie, croaking out accusations and one-liners together with her signature Noo Yawk rasp. (She may even share a scene with a canine and make it work.) I ought to be aware that after being totally charmed by her on Orange Is the New Black and Russian Doll, I’d just about watch Lyonne learn the telephone e book, so your mileage right here might differ.
Your tolerance for Poker Face‘s languid pace may vary as well: Episodes routinely run well over an hour, and the extended opening scenes detailing each week’s crime can run shut to twenty minutes earlier than Charlie even will get to city. Naturally, a number of the mysteries are extra intriguing than others, however the visitor stars are at all times a deal with: Hong Chau as a street-smart trucker, John Ratzenberger as a kindly automotive mechanic, Chloe Sevigny as a Courtney Love-esque rocker chick determined for an additional hit single. (The fifth episode, with Judith Light and S. Epatha Merkerson as former hippies in a nursing dwelling, is a selected spotlight.) Poker Face doesn’t break any new floor, to make sure, however the floor it does cowl remains to be lots fertile, it seems. We might have greater than three TV channels to select from lately… however typically it’s good to revisit a traditional.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Poker Face is a loving throwback to ’70s detective exhibits that works, because of a profitable lead efficiency from Natasha Lyonne.