SYFY’s adaptation of Grant Morrison’s Glad! serves up a demented darkish comedy that squeezes the final little bit of juice from the drained antihero system.
[That is an early assessment of SYFY’s Glad!, which premieres on Wednesday, December 6.]
A couple of years in the past, you couldn’t swing a useless cat and never hit a TV present with a brooding, tough however “completely superior” man as its lead.. From Tony Soprano to Don Draper to Walter White, the Golden Age of tv was marked by its surplus of inauspicious males, males who’re nice at their jobs however horrible when it got here to the administration of even probably the most primary of human relationships. Males who performed by their very own guidelines and have been finally rewarded and adored for his or her antics — largely by these watching — no matter whether or not or not that’s what the creators of such characters had in thoughts. Although it’s much less prevalent and extra closely criticized, TV remains to be chock stuffed with antiheroes and tough males. Exhibits like SYFY’s Glad!, which makes an trustworthy try to do the system one higher by taking it to such an apparent excessive that any form of hero worship would appear completely out of the query. However there’s a hiccup: collection star Christopher Meloni is so watchable within the function that a bit of misplaced adulation merely can’t be averted.
Based mostly on the graphic novel of the identical title by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, Glad! hails from Brian Taylor (of Neveldine/Taylor fame), who’s joined by Morrison within the scriptwriting division together with Patrick Macmanus, to convey this seven-episode adaptation to life. The result’s a deeply demented darkish comedy that serves up one frenetic action-comedy set piece after one other, within the model patented by Taylor and his regular directing associate Mark Neveldine in movies like Crank, Gamer, and Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance. Taylor’s visible model is properly suited to the fabric, delivering stylized, exaggerated violence with a wry smile and cartoon sheen to intensify Morrison’s already over-the-top narrative.
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Like a Shane Black film gone haywire, Glad! unfolds over the vacations, coating Christmastime with a patina of grime, as Meloni’s disgraced tremendous cop-turned-hit-man Nick Sax contends with a failing coronary heart, a success gone improper, a mob boss out to kill him for a password he could or could not know, and the manifestation of a absurdly cheery purple cartoon unicorn title Glad and voiced by Patton Oswalt. Glad is the imaginary pal of a bit of lady title Haley, together with a number of different kids, was kidnapped by a demented killer with a Santa fetish. Glad, for causes that stay mercifully unexplained, materialized and sought out absolutely the worst particular person conceivable to save lots of a bit of lady in want.
Even a cursory take a look at the plot tells you that is excellent materials for somebody like Taylor, whose previous efforts recommend the jankier the higher when it comes the circumstances of the story he’s engaged with. Taylor isn’t notably curious about elevating the fabric; he’s trying to immerse himself in it, to splash round within the murky grey waters of a lunatic killer communing with and corrupting an imaginary flying horse whereas on the highway to a prescribed redemption. Taylor’s characters typically work greatest beginning at all-time low. That was true of Crank protagonist Chev Chelios, in addition to Gamer’s Kable, and, to a sure diploma, Ghost Rider’s Johnny Blaze, and it’s definitely true of Nick Sax, who begins the collection with a hallucinatory suicide fantasy that sees his head changed into a geyser of blood whereas he cuts a merry rug with a gaggle of scantily clad dancers. So far as introductions go, it’s the rockiest of bottoms, which suggests Nick has nowhere to go however up, and but, one way or the other Glad! finds new depths to which its character can sink.
As Nick places it, his life is an “ever-swirling rest room that simply gained’t flush,” an outline that, admittedly, would possibly restrict the viewers dimension for Glad! That appears completely superb for this hyper-adrenalized collection, and it fits Meloni properly, as he brings an unblinking and hilarious manic depth to function. Think about if John McClane and Gene from Moist Sizzling American Summer season had a child and also you’d find yourself with a reasonably shut approximation of the sort of character Nick Sax is. At one level Glad sums up Nick by telling him, “You’re smiling like somebody who doesn’t know what smiles are for.” The efficiency is a demanding one and Meloni is absolutely dedicated to going 100 miles per hour whether or not he’s killing a room stuffed with goons carrying nothing however a hospital robe or consuming a hamburger whereas speaking the finer factors of being a dirtbag with a tiny flying blue horse. Meloni brings a brutal physicality to the function that turns up the amount on the tough-guy dialogue that’s so typically performed for laughs, which supplies it simply sufficient respiration room in order to not really feel oppressively savage.
Meloni is a lot enjoyable to look at you nearly neglect the present’s most important draw is speaking CGI horse. Oswalt (who changed former SNL common Bobby Moynihan) imbues Proud of a captivating naïveté befitting a baby’s imaginary pal. The characterization strikes an expectedly unsubtle chord because the dynamic between the childlike manifestation and Nick’s degeneracy opens the door for some uncooked laughs. Like most all the things else, in Glad!, jokes come at you want they have been shot out of a cannon, nevertheless it works as a result of all the things is taken to such an exaggerated excessive, there’s little time to course of amplified aspect earlier than you’re bombarded with the subsequent. It goes with out saying, Glad! is greatest loved by strapping in and simply going together with one hell of an unhinged experience.
As a result of there can’t be too many plot traces operating concurrently, Nick’s adventures with Glad run parallel to the presumed redemption of one other soiled cop performed by Lili Mirojnick, and the ambitions of a mob boss named Blue, performed by the always-great Ritchie Coster who’s in full Joe Pantoliano mode at one level, consuming a grape and formulating an amusingly circuitous metaphor round its potential to be changed into a superb wine. Blue desperately desires a password shared to the crime household’s lately assassinated inheritor obvious by the late Don on his personal dying mattress. In the meantime, Patrick Fischler brings yet another deranged psychopath to an already crowded occasion because the uncomfortably ever-smiling Smoothie, who barely survives his bloody first encounter with Nick.
It looks like one distraction too many, however, for a present whose conceit revolves round a psychotic conversing with a flying cartoon horse solely he can see, the extra distractions the merrier, as they take the burden off the technical problems related to an all CGI character, whereas additionally lowering the quantity to which Nick and Glad must shoulder the burden of an admittedly skinny story.
Glad! gained’t be for everybody. SYFY isn’t shying away from coarse language — there are sufficient F-bombs dropped within the first two hours to make Tony Soprano exclaim “Marone” — and the violence is brutal and excessive. However Meloni is a lot enjoyable to look at and Oswalt is so real that the inherent cartooniness of the collection is definitely enhanced by a pair of mismatched cartoons. That mentioned, the present is likely to be too in love with its rascally antihero, which makes it tough at occasions for Glad! to reconcile its character with the downward pattern of Tough Males in tv. There’s alternative right here for the collection to do one thing new with the characterization, and hopefully it does, as a result of Meloni’s efficiency is humorous sufficient to earn absolution of its personal.
Glad! premieres Wednesday, December 6 @10pm on SYFY.