Created by Mike Myers
Written by Mike Myers, Roger Drew, and Ed Dyson
Starring: Mike Myers, Ken Jeong, Keegan-Michael Key, Debi Mazar, Richard McCabe, Jennifer Suanders, Lydia West, and Jeremy Irons
Mike Myers is back with The Pentaverate, a Netflix show that he created, co-wrote and stars in as several characters. The Pentaverate is a secret society, which was first referenced in 1993 cult classic So I Married an Axe Murderer, that’s been around since the Black Plague, controlling the world for the greater good, with one difference to other secret societies – they’re nice.
Myers stars as several members of the group as well as Canadian local journalist Ken Scarborough, who has lost his job after not having a hard-hitting story. He sets out with help from Reilly Clayton (Lydia West) to expose The Pentaverate in order to win back his job. The secret group have also recently taken on Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key) as their newest member, after one of the members died.
The premise and the cast of this show make it feel like something that’s either going to be brilliant or awful. Sadly, it falls into the later, filled with great potential it never lives up to. The worst thing about it is just how unfunny it is. Over the six half-hour episodes there’s only a handful of actual laughs, which is a real shame. There’s a lot of crass humour, that would probably work if you’re under eighteen with a bunch of friends, but more just cringe-inducing for anyone older than that. As a comedy it fails.
On the other hand, the characters, especially the selection played by Myers, are really good. The prosthetics are great, and for the most part look really convincing. Ken Scarborough is a character you can get behind and want to succeed, he’s one of the best things about the show. The side characters, like Dr Hobart Clark played by Keegan-Michael Key, are good. Jennifer Saunders plays two characters, one of which is the most grating in the entire series, and the other gets one of the best laughs out of the later half of the episodes. Jeremy Irons provides the narration for the titles at the start of each episode, telling you not to skip the intro (even though the skip intro button didn’t pop up once for me throughout the series) because the opening is different every time. It stops being funny at episode three, but at least makes the show feel a little quirky.
There are a few times where the fourth wall is broken, which is just awful every time, especially when there’s a Netflix employee talking about censoring scenes due Mike Myer’s family friendly reputation. That happens twice and it’s two of the worst jokes imaginable. For the most part, though, the show is just a straightforward comedy that’s not doing anything special. The premise isn’t explored as much as it could be, especially with the number of conspiracies on the Internet in recent years, instead there’s poop and accent jokes.
The Pentaverate feels like a wasted opportunity because there are so many jokes that just don’t land. The premise is interesting, the characters are good, and it looks like a lot of time and effort went into the look of the show, with great sets, effects, and prosthetics, but it is still completely forgettable straight after you finish watching it.
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