Bored To Death: Season 1 - Pilot reviewed
Review by Jack Foley
SKY Atlantic’s latest HBO import Bored To Death debuted on Monday night with an engaging, if lightweight, pilot episode.
Written by novelist Jonathan Ames, the show stars Jason Schwartzman as writer’s blocked novelist Jonathan Ames who, having been dumped by his girlfriend for drinking too much wine and smoking too much pot, decides to become an unlicensed private eye specialising in missing people and domestic problems.
That’s in between working for Ted Danson’s fellow stoner when occasion needs, or hanging out in a coffee shop with Zach Galifianakis.
The opening half an hour really set these plot-lines in motion, establishing the Ames character as a hopeless dreamer who is more committed to the slacker lifestyle than his failed relationship, but who becomes inspired by Raymond Chandler and the chance to lead a more exotic life.
Schwartzman is great… mixing his trademark quirky charisma with a nice line in self-depracating humour and delivering the show’s glib lines with the same finesse he has leant countless Wes Anderson movies.
As yet, we haven’t really seen enough of Danson to know how much of an impression he will make, while Galifianakis continues to riff on the type of likeable eccentric he honed in The Hangover and, more recently, Due Date. He and Schwartzman certainly seem to share a strong chemistry that should sustain the show.
Plot-wise, Ames’ first case was suitably barmy… but over almost as quickly as it began. Certainly, Ames screenplay has tapped into the stoner lunacy of the concept and not given his central character anything too demanding to solve.
Hence, the resolution of his first ‘case’ played out in a hotel room with the missing person tied to a bed by her loony British boyfriend, and Ames locked in a bathroom attempting to talk things round. It was funny in a demented kind of way, especially given the late arrival of the police.
Just how successful Bored To Death will be in sustaining its material across an entire series remains to be seen, but thanks to Ames’ sharp script and Schwartzman’s joyously playful idiocy, we’re betting it’ll be fun finding out. At this point, we’re certainly not Bored!
Bored To Death airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday nights. Episode 2 follows on April 4 at 10.20pm.