Get ready for Patrick Stewart (If you don’t know, there is nothing I can mention that will help) as you’ve never seen him before in BLUNT TALK, the outrageous new comedy series from Starz. Stewart plays Walter Blunt, a news man in the vein of Anderson Cooper, whose personal activities run the gambit of excess. The series opens with Blunt drinking heavily, rebuffing fans, then promptly getting in his car and eating some pot laced chocolate before hitting the streets. In short order he has managed to snag a transexual prostitute, but before anything too steamy can go down the cops show up for a bust, however, Blunt is too out of his mind to go down without a fight, and that is just what ensues as he severely beats the cop trying to arrest the hooker, this leads to a chase around his car and ends with him screaming Shakespeare from the roof of said vehicle. Thus begins a show that in its first three episodes has managed to address climate change, the porn industry, addiction recovery classes, and bathroom problems in the most ridiculous ways possible, and that is still only scratching the surface of this show’s genius.
The writing on the show is fantastic and it is thanks to Jonathan Ames (TV’s BORED TO DEATH) who is not only the primary writer on the but the show’s creator as well. Ames does an excellent job of creating unique characters that are relatable but also excessively flawed, making the show incredibly accessible while still being outrageous and hilarious. Some of the more interesting characteristics exhibited by Blunt or his staff are alcoholism, drug use, open marriages, odd casual hook ups, and what appears to be a shoe fetish. What makes these so great is that Ames isn’t attaching any judgments to them, but he just writes things as they are and allows the humor to come from the interactions that said characteristics propel. The crowning jewel of Ames’ writing is, of course, Walter Blunt, who is so diverse and complex that it will easily take seasons to examine all his layers. Blunt is at turns bitter, proud, tender, compassionate, entitled, lost, driven, and sometimes downright insane, these all combine to create a broad tapestry of a man that is not only fascinating, but lovable in spite of himself.
Since Walter Blunt has such wide and varying characteristics, it is only fitting that they cast a master thespian to portray him. Stewart takes to Blunt like a fish to water, as he seems to effortlessly portray his mood swings and flaring temper. This is Stewart at his absolute finest, which is saying something given his long career, but never have I been so drawn in and captivated by one of his characters as I am with Blunt. Stewart finds a way to give tremendous depth and heart to a character that is shallow, vain, and self centered, while simultaneously filling him with all the anger and resentment that comes once the powerful start to lose their relevance. Joining the cast as Blunt’s valet is Adrian Scarborough (TV’s DOCTOR WHO) and he provides the calming Yin to Blunt’s raging Yang. Scarborough is wonderful as the dutiful servant who, while being just as drunk or high as Blunt, maintains his composure and does his best to look out for Blunt’s best interest. The straight man character is never quite as fun, but the combination is what makes the routines come off perfectly, and Scarborough fulfills his role with flying colors. Blunt’s production team is made up of Timm Sharp (THE BREAK UP GIRL) as Jim, Dolly Wells (TV’s DOLL AND EM) as Celia, Jacki Winter (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK) as Rosalie Winter, Mary Holland (COMEDY BANG! BANG!) as Shelly, and Karan Soni (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED) as Martin, and while we haven’t seen too much of them yet, they all do a great job of creating unique characters who add a quirky quality to the show while simultaneously opening a wide door of story possibilities for the future.
BLUNT TALK has hit the ground running and I wouldn’t be surprised if it quickly becomes the best comedy show on premium cable. The writing is spot on, the supporting cast is wonderful, and Patrick Stewart is a dynamic show stealer. If you want to laugh your ass off or have even a passing interest in Stewart, then find a way to start watching this show, you’ll be glad you did.
Final Score: 9 out of 10