LATE TO THE PARTY: “MIRACLE WORKERS”
THE SHOW’S SUCCESS IS NOT A MIRACLE
As previously noted, my daddy duties have made it increasingly difficult to catch up on media. Just take a look at my Queue and DVR storage, but when I hear about a limited series or a quirky enough concept, I make the effort to binge (or at least knock it off my Queue). That goes for this review of the TBS limited series Miracle Workers.
The show is an adaptation from a novel (What in God’s Name), which I haven’t read, but it actually did a great job being presented as a separate entity. The fact that my wife and I could watch the show without needing any background info from the novel is already a great sign. Plus, making it a limited series means the producers could pick and choose what parts of the novel could be effectively portrayed (again, I didn’t read the novel so the show could have covered the entire book for all I know).
Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, Miracle Workers revolves around the idea that God (Buscemi) has lost interest in his creations and decides to destroy the Earth. Craig (played by Radcliffe) is sucked into a bet by his new Department of Answered Prayers co-worker Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan) to challenge God with the fate of the Earth at stake. The bet is for Craig and Eliza to make two awkward college students (Sam and Laura) form a romantic relationship and kiss in two weeks; otherwise God wins and can destroy Earth.
Originally, God was supposed to be played by Owen Wilson, but the choice to give the part to Buscemi actually strengthens the quality of the show. Buscemi looks more like a disheveled God than Wilson ever could and his natural neurotic-ism as an actor perfectly reflects the premise that God has given up on his creations. Radcliffe has already proven to be a versatile actor and actually takes a back seat to Viswanathan’s Eliza as she plays the dominant newcomer to his submissive, complacent, down-on-his-luck Craig.
The show actually sports a plethora of British actors, which somehow ups the charm and raunchy humor more than any American actor. Plus, the concepts of machines in Heaven controlling everything on Earth keeps scenarios easy to navigate, yet still dramatic. In one instance, the angels try to corner Sam and Laura at their favorite restaurant, but when Sam strays the path to look for pizza, the angels press a button to make the pizza shop owner’s appendix burst and effectively shut the pizzeria down.
It’s not just the main cast that delivers gold, as guest appearances from Tim Meadow, Titus Burgess and Bill Maher (to an extent) are able to deliver some of the best lines with heavy gravitas and the right amount of comedic inflection.
If you can find it online, on your app, or even on your On Demand service, Miracle Workers is well worth the time. And it’s short enough to binge before the world actually does end.
I’m more critical of TV than film but this is an A+.
We also have our most recent film review for Sorry To Bother You.
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