posted 3 May 2018, 14:02 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Comedy / Crime

Stars: Christopher Meloni / Patton Oswalt / Lili Mirojnick / Ritchie Coster

Creators: Grant Morrison / Brian Taylor

Certificate: 15

Year: 2017

Happy! The titular character is an imaginary friend, a flying blue unicorn to be precise. This extremely dark comedy sees Happy’s real friend Hailey been kidnapped and he tracks down Hailey’s father a former hero cop Nick Sax who he hopes will rescue her. Sax though is unaware of his daughter’s existence and after losing his job has become a lowlife ‘private detective’ who also does jobs on the side for very bad people. With a bad heart a cynical outlook on life and a serious drink and drug problem he is the total opposite of the innocence and unquenchable optimism of Happy. The show follows the misadventures of Sax and Happy as they track down and rescue Hailey whilst been on the run from a local mob boss.

I loved every moment of this very unique and wonderfully shot comedy which is also extremely emotive at the same time! It’s very dark with lots of action and a heavy dose of blood splatter. Sax is heroic in his own way even though he is a man who has given up on life and thinks the worst of everyone and their motivations. You shouldn’t like him, but you do even though he is immoral in a lot of what he does, deep down you can see a guy trying to do the right thing.

Meloni brings Sax to life really memorably – a conflicted hero who has trouble expressing his feelings. He has no trouble dealing out the bullets and fists though. Oswalt’s Happy! is the perfect counterfoil counterpart and their interactions are humorous and captivating.

It’s shot in a very comic bookish way, overhead shots, unusual angles and extreme close ups – all things you’d associate with graphic novels. It’s very stylistic visually, lots of arty and trippy effects enhancing the impact of certain scenes. It’s very frenetic storytelling which goes from one high octane scenario to the next, it makes it very exciting and enthralling TV as it never let’s go of your attention.

It’s also very bizarre and offbeat which really enhances its appeal, from the creepy Smoothie to Sunny Shine and his Wishies to The Bug – it’s all very outlandish but captivating nonetheless. The bad guys are really nasty pieces of work, which makes Sax’s anti hero more of a hero in comparison. There’s lots going on with varying sub plots, which enhance your opinions of certain characters but also create a lot of peril and makes the show at times very thrilling.

Its humour is key to the shows appeal though and it’s very dark at times and touches on uncomfortable subjects and scenarios to get its laughs occasionally. So depending on your disposition you’ll either be chuckling mirthlessly or be deeply offended and disgusted.

The unsettling ‘Bad Santa’ played unnervingly well by Joseph D. Reitman is a hauntingly disturbing bad guy – for reasons you’ll quickly understand when you watch it. He is the only one who can see Happy (besides Hailey and Sax ofcourse) and I clicked on very early he had an imaginary friend too, so it wasn’t a surprise when you meet him and it was great script writing and emotive how his story ends even if his real friend is a deeply disturbed individual.

I enjoyed the music/score the show used it really helped intensify certain scenes and also add to the quirky offbeat slant the show has. The eerie theme that is used to accompany ‘Bad Santa’ is a discordant version of Christmas music which is so creepy and unsettling, it makes his appearances even more uncomfortable and scary.

The show does have a defined ending, but leaves enough threads for the show to continue, but it doesn’t leave viewers on an annoying cliff-hanger. I can’t wait to see what happens next as the show has been greenlit for a second series!


Review by Woody