Nick Sax is an ex-detective extraordinaire turned jaded hitman played by Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU and Oz) with a thin crack in his veneer that allows you to accept his gruesome antics. And he takes a stab at morals. When hired to make a hit on three people and a fourth shows up, he takes pause. It is the fourth man that sets the drama in motion for the series premiere. Nick is a quick-witted survivor fueled by alcohol and a don’t give a shit attitude. He swaggers and sways through scenes and doesn’t walk a straight line once, and I swear I already love this guy.
Happy, the imaginary blue unicorn voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt, feels at first like a one-note annoyance but just give him time to get used to the situation. I have not read the graphic novel of the same name written by Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson upon which this show is based, but the teleplay written by Grant Morrison and Brian Taylor and directed by Chad Stahelski and Brian Taylor with the special and visual effects, sound and music, editing, okay all the production values of which there are many, have turned this show into a stunning salute to a macabre underbelly world. My first thought was Pixar meets Goodfellows.
The previews don’t do this show justice. There is actually more violence than we are led to believe.That the producers gave their own show a rating of WTF sets the tone for their unapologetic offering. The opening scene is red, white and very Christmassy. The music and sound effects, the juxtaposition of holiday cheer and despicable violence, it’s paced with fast edits and faster dialogue which is stupid and funny if you can catch what they say. And it is dark. NYC at night. The humor, The violence. Kidnapping, power plays, jealousy, murder and hey we’re only 15 minutes in.
Wet, snowy New York City streets dampen the Holiday season which is celebrated at an outdoor concert scene that left me feeling like I did the first time I saw the inhabitants of the Capitol in the Hunger Games. A horror of a clown that sends children into shrieks of delight and makes me question the legitimacy of their sanity. And if you think Christopher Meloni’s character is rock bottom soulless, wait until you meet the bad guys. But scene after sce ne, it’s like laughing through a nightmare. That a little girl is kidnapped during the happiest time of year is handled with more grace and taste than anything else on the screen. When the onscreen action gets too crazy, they just cut to black. Thank you, I needed that.
And it so happens that the missing girl’s imaginary friend is Happy, the blue unicorn. Why can she see him and her mother cannot? Why can Nick Sax see Happy when most others can’t? And why is it Nick that Happy needs to help him find his little girl?
I give nothing away when I say it is a hit gone wrong where Nick meets the imaginary blue unicorn, Happy. This fast-moving possible Pixar reject flits in and out of the scenes and yes, I had concerns going in. As the story develops Happy starts to calm down enough to have responses and expressions reflected back to Nick. When he gives Nick the heads up as to approaching danger and it turns out to be true, Nick starts to believe in the blue unicorn and stops questioning his own sanity.
In the beginning, the actions and characters feel disjointed, an inherent situation you presume when setting up a series. But hang in there, perhaps not as disjointed as you think. Because there is so much more going on here than you may catch at first viewing.
At times emotions are over the top and at times so tone deaf you want to punch someone. That’s right, I’m involved. I’m entertained. I am laughing and shrieking. Just like those kids being delighted by that scary clown character in the concert scene.
Every scene oozes weird creepiness balanced out by Nick Sax and Happy. That’s what is fun about this show. Good and evil existing side by side. It’s reality when blown out of proportion and tinted with dark colors. It’s about the good and evil in us all and just what does it take for someone to give the middle finger to the civilized world and lean into their dark side. To pop the lid off the not so nice part of us that we hide. And that’s the question I am left with. What happened to Nick Sax to bring him down to this debauched existence? His journey from heaven to hell must be a wild ride.
If you are a fan of Deadpool, and who isn’t, do not hop, skip or jump. Run to get Happy!