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Peacock Poker Face (2023) (1 Viewer)

DaveF

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Rian Johnson’s Poker Face starring Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll) debuted tonight. The first four episodes are out on Peacock+. I watched the first episode. I had expectations, and this show met none of them, aside from giving me quality Lyonne.

I‘d imagined Poker Face as being a murder-of-the-week, Columbo style, with Lyonne’s character, Charlie, coming in to solve mysteries with her uncanny ability to know if people are telling the truth.

That is not at all what’s happening as of episode one. It looks like it’s going to be a season-long story. It’s also a very slow burn start. Almost a quiet show for the majority.

I’m obviously being vague about plot points. I think this is a good one to come in cold and watch it unfold. But, you can read the IMDB summary if you want preview spoilers.

 

Noir Norn

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I also watched the first 'pilot' episode of Rian Johnson’s Poker Face last night with few expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the high level of writing, direction, acting and production values. I'll wait for Peacock to upload all the episodes before throwing them a one month subscription fee ... or maybe wait for a Blu-ray release of the entire series.
 

AlexF

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I watched the first episode this afternoon (CityTV here in Canada btw) and quite enjoyed it. The number of people I recognized in it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next few episodes.
 

Tino

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A minor nitpick tho

I find it a little hard to swallow that it seems there’s a murder to solve everywhere she goes. 3 eps in.. 3 murders.

Still love it tho. ;)
 

Lord Dalek

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Can anyone clarify if it’s a continuing arc or each week’s story is self contained?
There is a story arc involving Ron Pearlman and Benjamin Bratt trying to whack Natasha Lyonne but outside of the first episode its been MacGuffin territory (and episode 3 is entirely self-contained).
 

DaveF

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Episode 2 and it’s shifted into a murder-of-the-week format. I’d wondered if this was the style it would take, at the end of episode 1. But it really felt like it was going to be a long-form story rather than procedura. But no complaints. It was a good second episode.

Poker Face is a very conventional show, done with today’s budget, aesthetics, and writing styles. It’s a procedural, episodic, murder-of-the-week show. In that it feels like every such show we’ve watched for the past many decades. And it looks like it’s going to have well known actors and stars doing cameos in every episode. So conventional, going back to I guess Columbo or Murder She Wrote type shows.

I also realized in this second episode that Poker Face is very sparing with its soundtrack. Most of the show doesn’t have background music. The lack of it starts to stand out because it leans into the pauses and near silences. Unlike Law and Order where music-less scenes are often filled with the ambient noise of a big city or workplace, Poker Face might be filled with the emptiness of New Mexico desert.
 

GlennC

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I’ve watched the first three episodes and it does remind me of Columbo and other series of the time. This is even down to the copyright details being on the screen with the episode title.

The series is very good but all the bad language just seems out of place and it is just lazy script writing.
 

DaveF

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I’ve watched the first three episodes and it does remind me of Columbo and other series of the time. This is even down to the copyright details being on the screen with the episode title.
Yes, another interesting design element: that opening title with the Roman-numeral year takes me back a few decades.
 

DaveF

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Episode 3 “Truth Train” had the best canine performance I think I’ve seen in maybe ever!

I’m getting drawn in by the storytelling process of knowing the murderer up front and watching Charlie solve it. It’s a different approach than I’m used to from Law and Order and CSI and so on where I don’t know any more than the detectives within the show.

I’m also struck by Poker Face, so far, being set in rural America. Again, after decades of all the cop and detective shows set in major cities, having episodes at a truck stop and a Texas roadside BBQ is so different.

It gives me vibes from ‘70s Smokey and Bandit, Dukes of Hazzard, and Convoy a bit, when life on the open road had some mystique, and and shows weren’t all in NYC or LA.
 

EricSchulz

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Watched the first episode last night and LOVED IT! It is VERY reminiscent of Columbo (the original run is one of my all-time favorite shows EVER) and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.
 

Doug Wallen

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Episode 5 changed things up with their "formula". I feel this added another facet to Charlie. She can make mistakes.

Excellent showcase for Judith Light and S. Epatha Merkerson.

I wonder if she ever contacts the "fake" nephew again?

Still enjoying this series.
 

DaveF

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“Time of the Monkey” is both the most ridiculous episode so far but possibly the most surprising and interesting episode so far.

So far, Poker Face has felt realistic. The murders and reasons for murders have all felt plausible and grounded to me. This week’s depiction of a 70 year old whell-chair-bound woman hand-climbing two stories up an ivy lattice was pure fantasy. It nearly broke the episode for me, to so utterly pulled me out of the show. Worse, the implicit conceit that she actually had tremendous upper body strength was utterly discarded or forgotten everywhere else in the episode: she could barely push a shuffleboard paddle.

And then there was her heart being stopped by the taser, and then resuming.

Accepting the silly, even dumb, conceits, it had very surprising story twists and and substantial character revelation for Charlie.

So far, Charly has been friends with the deceased and from the start felt the murderer was off. Episode 5 inverts it, where she’s friends with the murderers and has to work past that to learn the truth.

It was also a flashback-based story for the murderers to show their crime has decades-old motivations. Previously, there have been no flashbacks and the murders have been substantially contemporaneous crimes of passion.

The show needed a little shakeup. It was risking becoming a bit too rote. This showed they’re going to explore their own form and strictures.
 
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DaveF

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Episode 6 “Exit Stage Death” was mediocre, to be generous. The weakest episode so far, and with a murder scenario even less plausible than “Time of the Monkey”. And two great actors, Ellen Barkin and Tim Meadows, playing bad actors came off as bad actors.

Hope Episode 7 is strong.
 

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