Sunday, December 16, 2018

TV: Happy!

The Christmas holiday carries with it a certain kind of treacly television melodrama. You know the arc - a bitter Scrooge is confronted with his or her life choices, and by the end is converted into a paragon of holiday cheer. "Happy!," a Syfy original series whose first season is currently available for streaming on Netflix, is sort of like that, except with the violence, gore, sex, and drugs amped up to 11:

Christopher Meloni plays Nick Sax, a down-and-out former NYPD detective-turned-hitman.  After Nick gets shot and has a heart attack on a particularly rough night near the holidays, he starts seeing a flying blue unicorn named Happy (Patton Oswalt, an inspired bit of VO casting). Happy's the imaginary friend of a little girl in peril, and he's here to get Nick to save her. The unlikely partnership is rocky at first, but as you might imagine, the two eventually join forces to combat a cartoonish New York filled with perverts, scumbags, and gangsters.

"Happy!" is amazingly faithful to Grant Morrison's original 4-issue comic book miniseries (Morrison is an executive producer and writer), but the show actually improves on the source material in a lot of ways. Nick's ex-partner and ex-wife have much larger roles, minor characters are fleshed out, and the humorous Yuletide theme is a lot more evident than in the comic, in large part due to Meloni's sardonic take on the role. If you're in the mood for some tinsel-flavored ultraviolence that is absolutely not for children, go ahead and feel "Happy!"


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