Dispatches from Elsewhere
It’s… I… wait, what? But.… I… I… just… huh? AMC UK’s new show, Dispatches from Elsewhere, is simply bizarre. But it’s hard to turn away.
Written by and starring Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets), Dispatches from Elsewhere tells a somewhat strange tale. The completely ordinary Peter (Segel) feels like something is missing from life as he goes about the same dull daily routine over and over. But almost as soon as the story starts, he gets caught up in some sort of puzzle, jumping from one crazy task to another on the orders of an eccentric man (Richard E. Grant), meeting companions through the activities, and suddenly finding more in life. But what is it? A hoax? A game? An advertising campaign? Or is it all actually real?
If that sounds a bit odd then it doesn’t even come close to describing the weirdness of the first episode. From the very first shot of Grant just sitting still and silent for a few seconds before he starts narrating, it’s clear there’s something pretty unusual going on. But it creates a need in the viewer to know what happens next.
Segel is as easy to watch as ever, endearing and effortless in the role of “normal guy”. It’s hard not to immediately like the character. But what is perhaps more interesting is how Simone (played by Eve Lindley) puts her emotions out there, showing joy, aggression, fear and sorrow. And that’s just episode one. Fredwynn (André Benjamin) and Janice (Sally Field) start off a little weaker, but there’s plenty of room to grow.
So, it’s a great cast with some interesting characters in a show that holds a surprise around every corner. But is it any good? It’s certainly interesting, and there’s definitely some potential present. But episode one feels like it’s all set up, despite Grant’s narrator promising to spare 20 minutes of the audience’s time by cutting straight to the story. It’s intriguing, but it’s not quite enough yet. More of the same and it’s likely to become pretty tedious. If Dispatches from Elsewhere can keep up the drama and mystery and charm, though, this could turn into a wonderful series.
Dispatches from Elsewhere is released on AMC UK on 29th April 2020.
Watch the trailer for Dispatches from Elsewhere here: