Sunday, August 30, 2015

Another Period Review

This is an admittedly slapdash review I'm posting here although I wouldn't classify it as my best content. Unfortunately, I'm saving my best content for HiddenRemote at the moment. 

To say the show "Another Period" is rich with talent is an understatement. David Koechner is the family patriarch, underrated character actress Natasha Leggero lends her talents in a rare staring role as one of the two sisters Brian Huskey, Paget Brewster and Brett Gelman are all excellently cast in character roles. Christina Hendricks (who's mostly known for period drama) dives into her role as a scheming servant with an unexpected amount of enthusiasm. Michael Ian Black really sticks out (even in poor episodes) as a character who really puts the "serve" in "subservient" with the character of Peepers.

Peepers is a rich character and fully-formed but seeing him on screen only serves to remind about how deficient all the other characters. Peepers' desire to serve the other characters in the story makes little sense because pretty much everyone else is an extreme caricature. Either that or they're the most inhumane collection of people in history. Watching Michael Ian Black as Peepers is like watching Peter O'Toole act opposite third graders or evil scamps determined to ruin his scene.

The main drawing point of the show (and what keeps it watchable) is that it's a fun period piece and it's very rare to see "fun" and "period piece" in the same sentence of a synopsis. Although "Another Period" doesn't have the production values of a grandiose epic, there is a superficial veneer that shines through. Like any unfocused take on history that is trying to say as much as possible about its setting, nearly every important figure from the 1900's makes their way to the Bellacourt manor with juicy stunt casting. Matt Besser plays Leon Trotsky, Kate Flannery plays Annie Sullivan, Ben Stiller plays Charles Ponzi and Chris Parnell plays Sigmund Freud in clever historical twists although it's fairly clear that these historical figures aren't researched beyond what will earn an easy laugh. Similarly, the show also presents us with a hyperactive Gandhi and though Clone High already went down that road a dozen years ago, it's good enough for a chuckle. 

The show is too sloppy to be taken as much of a satire and its characters are too cruel to be taken sympathetically or even seriously. The bloated ensemble also leads to episodes that are overly crammed for the thirty-minute running time. Despite these flaws, the show is still watchable and worthy of a laugh here and there.

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