We all know and love Sir Patrick Stewart. Though he may be known best for his work as Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and the benevolent Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” films, he also managed to give a riveting turn in last year’s Tribeca favorite “Match,” and we’ll assuredly see a much darker side of the English thesp in “Blue Ruin” helmer Jeremy Saulnier’s neo-Nazi thriller “Green Room” (one can only be left to assume this is the second entry in a bleak, color-coded triptych). But having now seen the trailer for “Blunt Talk,” I can safely say that the general public has never seen Mr. Stewart quite like… well, whatever he’s supposed to be in the trailer for the new half-hour Starz original comedy. “Blunt Talk” is the twisted product of the minds of “Bored to Death” creator Jonathan Ames and “Family Guy” father Seth MacFarlane, and even if I’m not entirely sold on the show’s admittedly wonky premise, the very notion of the typically erudite, gentlemanly Stewart as Walter Blunt — a hard-charging, coke-snorting British television personality set loose in the bizarre world of American TV journalism — is certainly interesting.
Indeed, Captain Picard takes more than a few mighty bumps of the old Peruvian marching powder within the first moments of this brief, often quite funny teaser, but that’s not the only exciting prospect on display here. The show also boasts a superlative supporting cast, with Playlist favorite Jacki Weaver co-starring as Blunt’s foul-mouthed, no-nonsense producer and manager; Adrian Scarborough as his “dedicated manservant;” and Richard Lewis as a shrink, go figure. The creative brain trust at hand is also intriguing. Ames, both in his books and his HBO series (which was unfortunately given the ax, although rumors of a film have circulated since its third-season curtain call) has practically trademarked his own wry form of comedy that’s like a gentler, more scatological version of Noah Baumbach’s urbane neurosis, while MacFarlane, for better or worse, remains the small screen’s most committed and relentless champion of potty humor. The 50-second spot for “Blunt Talk” boasts some of the same exuberant vulgarity on display in something like MacFarlane’s “Ted,” but if done right, “Blunt Talk” could play like some rambunctious, irreverent variation on that much-derided HBO melodrama “The Newsroom” (there’s even a rather timely Bill O’Reilly gag around the halfway mark). Here’s the official synopsis:
Set in Los Angeles, the story follows Walter Blunt, a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news and the fallout from his well-intentioned, but mostly misguided decision-making, both on and off the air. Through the platform of his nightly interview show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave. Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages, Blunt’s only support is the alcoholic manservant he transplanted from the U.K. to join him in Los Angeles.
Starz has ordered “Blunt Talk” for two ten-episode seasons, though the date and airtime of the show’s season premiere has yet to be announced. In the meantime, watch the first trailer below. [Live For Films]