If the new series from creator Jonathan Ames and executive producer Seth MacFarlane was just a mix between another Network-inspired show about journalism and some very consistently bad behavior on the part of Patrick Stewart’s cable news host Walter Blunt, it would be hard to recommend giving such a collection of clichés much of your time. However, Blunt Talk, which debuts August 22 on Starz, is more than that and worth going along for the ride. As my video review above says, the comedy really gets rolling to its most interesting and most revealing places when it aims its satire at the American idea of celebrity – and that’s the place you want to go with it.
It’s no slip of the tongue to say that the bite and wounds of the star-making machine is where the 10-episode first season of Blunt Talk is, sorry to say, at its most blunt. Forget comparisons to former CNN host Piers Morgan, Glenn Beck and others — it’s not the state of modern journalism that is the enemy here. Blunt’s foes are the sycophants and the situation of being famous in America itself that allows the flailing and perpetually almost-cancelled pompous Brit to be self-destruction personified. The supporting cast of the likes of King’s Speech alum Adrian Scarborough as Blunt’s ex-Army pal and loyal manservant Harry and Jacki Weaver as the host’s cloistering producer and manager complete the bubble. Walter Blunt is trapped in many ways in a world where he can do little else but implode. Let’s be honest, as any fan of P.G. Wodehouse knows, that can be sad and, handled well as it is here, very funny simultaneously.
The fact is you don’t have to wait until Saturday to see what I mean with Blunt Talk, which was picked up with a second 10-episode season when it was ordered in April 2014. The first two episodes of Season 1 have been available online and on-demand since August 15. Give it a look and take it from me: Blunt Talk gets better the longer it goes on. You might want to cover your eyes to avoid the train wreck, but don’t look away.