We gave it a B
Patrick Stewart wastes no time shedding his stately pop persona—the pomp and stuffiness shaped by so much Star Trek, Shakespeare, and superhero commandeering—on his new Starz sitcom, Blunt Talk. Within the first 10 minutes, the former captain of the Enterprise is swearing, rapping, and suckling a barely legal transgender prostitute. Professor X! Whatever will your students think?
Stewart plays Walter Blunt, a British war hero–turned–American cable-news anchorman with a spiraling personal life and ratings. Not helping: a coddling staff, including a producer (Jacki Weaver), who spoons him in times of crisis, and a manservant (Adrian Scarborough), who plies him with booze, bedtime stories, and everything else. After that assignation with said streetwalker leads to scandal, Blunt bungles his image-rehab bid with a cocaine-blitzed self-interview, though the publicity generated by the spectacle saves him from cancellation. He tries again to self-correct by doubling down on being a serious, idealistic newsman, only to trip over his foibles and vanity anew. Blunt knows his issues. He just doesn’t know how to change.
Created by Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death), Blunt Talk’s media satire is by turns sly and stale. Blunt isn’t a convincing anchorman avatar, though he works as a metaphor for pampered celebrity. The show begins to find itself as an inspired comedy about redemption in a post-self-help, post-hot-mess culture in the third episode, which digs deeper into its supporting characters. Stewart is always a total pleasure: The fun he’s having playing a character that allows him to do more than boss around mutants and spacemen is infectious. He carries Blunt Talk with his X-traordinary talent as the show searches for a bold vision worthy of him. B