Critical Condition: Casual

Casual | Lightbox, from Wednesday

➢ “First impressions of the Hulu original comedy Casual: It’s funny, strongly realised, self-assured and a joy to watch. After watching an episode, you want another. It’s those easy elements that are so impressive — because they were hard-earned. It’s very difficult to take a 30-minute comedy (dramedy?) and make it feel fresh when you’re using time-tested themes of personal change, dating, coming of age, etc., especially in the Platinum Age of Television with all of its limitless options for viewers.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢ “It’s created by a relative newcomer, Zander Lehmann, and produced by Jason Reitman (Juno), who also directs the first two episodes. It’s the idiosyncratic story of an idiosyncratic Los Angeles family that shows how idiosyncrasy has become a formula itself. But this is a well-executed version, which becomes more than the sum of its quirks.” — New York Times.

➢ “You might recognise Michaela Watkins as the scene-stealer from Enlightened and the Wet Hot American Summer series, known for her darkly funny, tough-talking characters. On this melancholy half-hour comedy, she’s on brand as recent divorcée Valerie, a therapist living with her brother Alex (Tommy Dewey), who cofounded a dating site but can’t make any relationship last. While they struggle through bad dates, the pilot’s take on these lovable downers is a bit of a downer itself, but the second half hour sharpens its wit, promising better episodes to come.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢ “Every once in a while, the writing of Casual falls into an utterly predictable trap. Too many times, it’s easy to guess who’s walking in on or waking up next to who. Fortunately, many of those moments are then maneuvered into a plot development that proves pretty intriguing.” — IndieWire.

➢ “The series just isn’t distinctive enough to separate itself from the pack, from the casting to the premise … So while some might find enough here to stick with it through the 10-episode season, with so many other players aggressively tackling the premium-style genre, Casual feels a lot more like a one-night stand than anything that warrants a long-term commitment.” — Variety.

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