Poker Face (Season One) - Peacock
Okay, let me stop you there, all you Russian Doll fanboys. This is not the Natasha Lyonne produced and starring vehicle you're expecting. Now admittedly, Season Two of the aforementioned show was maybe something of a disappointment after the excellent first one, but don't let that make you think for a minute that Lyonne has gone off the boil. While we quietly brush all that New York time travelling under the carpet, the ginger frizzy-headed one is back after talking Rian Johnson into writing her a 'murder mystery of the week' series.
While her Russian Doll character and the show itself had become stale quite quickly (we still hold out hope for better to come), Lyonne remains as infectious as ever with some real quality writing and story-telling propping her up here. The story of a woman that can literally sense when someone is lying and what she does with this particularly unique and sometimes profitable but always adventurous skill has been used by Johnson to great effect.
The story is different every week and will put you in mind of Murder She Wrote or Hart To Hart if you're old enough to remember them. This is just a modern version of a well-worn and much-loved idea. The only constant is Lyonne herself, with a host of stars all lining up to take part it seems, not least the likes of Adrian Brody, Chloe Sevigny and Ellen Barkin to name but a few to get their own feature episodes.
What impressed me the most was Johnson's tall tales and the unique inventiveness of them. Lyonne can appear in as little as half of each episode, if that, allowing the full story to play out before we introduce her and she goes about solving the always murderous crimes. Granted, sometimes it is a little bit obvious and at others, you may have to have a pinch of salt handy to help you swallow the clues that our hero magically and luckily comes across, but for the most part, these are well performed and well told stories that I can only imagine have been backward engineered in most cases, so convoluted and imaginatively complex they appear to be.
Great fun, if a little formulaic after only a couple of episodes, and less a breath of fresh air, more a recently opened time capsule with some old, but perfectly breathable air, inside.