Truth Seekers (Amazon Prime.) Review.

At this point, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are so well established in the field of British comedy. They could do anything and it would have an audience. This is despite most of the work they’ve done outside of collaborating with Edgar Wright ranging from mediocre to embarrassing. No audience should have to sit through Slaughterhouse Rules. Now they have teamed up with Amazon and British director Jim Field Smith for their first major step into streaming TV with this eight episodes supernatural comedy, The premise is simple. Frost plays supernatural obsessed broadband installer, Gus who moonlights as a paranormal investigator by night. He brings on a recruit (Samson Kayo )and the season is essentially eight half hours of then going on a series of serialised investigations. These eventually form the season plot. The supporting cast includes a few recognisable faces including Malcolm McDowell, Julian Barratt and Kelly MacDonald.How is the season?
It’s a very strange affair. Admittedly it is bad as it could be. The tone the series is aiming for lends itself to crude toilet humour and lame jump scares. Whilst there is some of both throughout the eight episodes it quickly becomes clear that the creative team here was aiming for some level of legitimacy as a slice of modern comedy horror. There’s some solid atmosphere in the direction from Field Smith but it’s very often undercut by the insistence on shoving in and unfunny gag. The sense of humour might be not as sophomoric as it could have been but that doesn’t mean the script is particularly funny. The season coasts by on some solid central performances but offers nothing that audiences won’t have seen in any number of British R rated comedies. There’s also the somewhat bizarre choice to only give Simon Pegg a very small supporting role. This might be more effective if he interacted with any of the leads regularly but he spends most of the season behind a desk. They are good ideas and effective moments throughout but they are very often undercut by a series of strange choices that nullifies the season’s potential effectiveness.
Surprisingly the seasons biggest overall positive might be its structure. This could easily have been a simple episodic investigation show but its commitment towards weaving the individual investigations in with a more serialised narrative starts to pay dividends in the latter half of the season. The performances certainly help matters. Frost is it always very watchable even with mediocre material and there’s nothing to disprove that here. Samson Kayo is surprisingly excellent not only in playing off Frosts character but being up to the task of carrying the narrative lynchpin for the final two episodes. Julian Barrett is having a blast as the eventual villain having just the right amount of menace. The only real negative on the central performance front comes from Malcolm McDowell who is fine as Frosts grumpy dad but gets nothing major to do throughout the runtime. It feels as if he is here simply because the creators wanted a relatively big name for this role. This is the sort of decision that holds back a promising but severely flawed series from progressing any further up the quality scale
Truth Seekers is not as bad as it might have been. That being said for every effective moment or solid choice there’s an equal one that balances this out in a negative way. It’s far from the worst streaming series around but the bones of a potentially much better show are scattered throughout. It will make viewers wish the creators had capitalised on this potential promise. As with Amazons recently cancelled Utopia remake this is far from the worst show in the world but this critic remains very neutral on its potential future and would be happy enough with either a renewal or cancellation.
6/10

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