Turn Up Charlie
In a formula concocted by none other than Idris Elba (and co-created by Gary Reich), the actor himself plays Charlie Ayo a washed-up-DJ-turned-manny in the new Netflix series Turn Up Charlie. We meet Charlie down on his luck in London living with his Aunt Lydia. A childhood friend moves back to town from Hollywood, bringing with him his successful DJ wife Sara (Piper Perabo) and child. It’s just the opportunity Charlie needs so he can wedge his foot back in the industry door and return to DJ glory. However, it soon becomes clear the couple sees his talents better suited to minding their neglected and spoilt child. And so, the plot thickens and the good old television fun begins.
There is nothing particularly remarkable about the show or its plot points. Each episode is formulaic but ultimately soothing to follow. Frankie Hervey plays the bratty child in question, whose behaviour borders on cruel for the first couple of episodes until, for the sitcom equation to work, she becomes softer around the edges. Charlie has life advice to impart.
The show is charming but never gripping. It is amusing but never hysterical. The most noticeable element is its soundtrack, which for a show about music is always getting in the way. It spoon feeds emotional beats with melodramatic interludes and tries to disguise the series’ budget with pulsating club beats.
What’s most baffling is that Turn Up Charlie is what one would expect of Elba when he is in desperate need of a comeback. It’s as if he forgot he is one of the most successful actors in our current times. All in all, the series has moments of charm that redeem its mediocrity. The question of who the show is for looms over it. The simplest answer is Idris Elba and perhaps him alone.
Turn Up Charlie is released on Netflix on 15th March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Turn Up Charlie here: