Friday, March 22, 2019

Pilot Review: Turn Up Charlie

Turn Up Charlie (Netflix)
Premiered March 15

I don’t think many people would argue with the idea of Idris Elba getting his own TV show, though it’s possible that most would advocate instead for him to be the next James Bond, which might still happen. That said, this show hardly seems to be the best vehicle, with the man-child not living by himself trying to succeed in the music business while being tormented by a young girl that for some reason he’s agreed to nanny not sounding like the most sophisticated premise. It’s inarguable that Elba is charismatic, but this role doesn’t demand much from him. Even though he gives more than he needs to, there’s just not that much to do here. I’m also surprised to see Piper Perabo, whose last TV gigs were on “Covert Affairs” and “Notorious,” which enabled her to be energetic and right in the action, as opposed to what she’s doing here. I thought this was mostly about Charlie’s rise in the music scene, and instead there is this inexplicable notion that he can be a nanny, to which his charge responded right away by showing him just how easily she can dispose of anyone hired to watch her. That’s not enticing to me, and following Elba on this show just means that he won’t be doing other work which will likely be far more suited to his talents. If I liked music, I might stick around, but I don’t see (or hear) anything in this universe that piques my interest.

How will it work as a series? Gabrielle seems intent on messing with Charlie even if he’s actually her first choice for the role of babysitter, and those antics can only last for so long. If they do indeed connect, this show runs the risk of being too sentimental. There also has to be time for the music industry to take Charlie’s attention, which isn’t all that more appealing.
How long will it last? This may represent one of Netflix’s few failures, earning meager reviews from critics which fall far below the praise heaped upon other shows. Netflix has, however, renewed some series without much acclaim before, and therefore it’s possible they’d commission another season following the eight episodes that have already premiered. I’m betting that won’t be the case.

Pilot grade: C

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