Critical Condition: Deadbeat

Deadbeat (TVNZ 2, 2.25am Saturday)

➢ “Similar in tone to the late lamented Pushing Daisies, Deadbeat promotes Tyler Labine from the sidekick role he’s seemingly played in a half-dozen shows — including the cult favorite Reaper — to leading man. However familiar, this Hulu original series is also disarmingly funny, conjuring quirky moments as it channels the comedic side of Ghost.” — Variety.

➢ “The show is a comic procedural, with Mr. Labine’s Kevin taking on a new haunting each week. In the first episode a former soldier (sporting an impressive exit wound in his forehead) hangs around because he’s determined to have sex with the girlfriend he left behind. This is accomplished by his possessing Kevin’s body, which leads to a slightly subversive sex scene predicated on Kevin’s forgetting to ask which war the soldier fought in. Deadbeat is about as good as the pun in its title (Kevin’s a deadbeat whose beat is the dead) — not terrible, but nowhere near laugh-out-loud.” — New York Times.

➢ “There are tonal fluctuations, dissonant notes, at least one laborious set-up for a payoff that never comes. There are jokes that make me look aside, and jokes that are so tired, so predictably unpredictable (putting bad words in the mouth of a nun, for instance) that they put the whole enterprise to sleep, until some better gag comes along to rouse it again. But they do come along, the better gags.” — Los Angeles Times.

➢ “Somewhere within the Deadbeat press materials, the show is described as a cross between The Big Lebowski and The Sixth Sense. This is generous. With only a negligible fraction of the originality of either of those two cultural touchstones, Deadbeat [is] the narrative equivalent of an idle afternoon on the couch.” — Salon.

➢ “Despite its obvious flaws, Hulu’s latest is a pleasant enough distraction, a casually engaging time filler with heaps of potential. If it were a pilot picked up to series, many of its issues could be fixed before final judgement was given. Sadly, as a full season, Deadbeat can’t live up to its competition — online or on the air.” — IndieWire.

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