Like Richard Nixon’s bestselling 1962 book Six Crises, Woody Allen’s Crisis In Six Scenes is part stump speech, part career retrospective and a whole lot of filler. After Allen’s nearly 50-year absence from television, the September 30-launching Amazon series is a limp effort from an American icon.

In a role he’s been playing for decades, Allen portrays Sidney J. Munsinger, an upscale suburban ad-man-turned-frustrated novelist who now is trying to write a sitcom. To joke, the late-1960s-set Crisis does little to hide Allen’s contempt for the gig, literally and figuratively.

Deadline Review Badge Dominic Patten

Elaine May is Sidney’s psychologist spouse Kay and contemporary wild child and new The Voice judge Miley Cyrus is an on-the-run radical named Lennie Dale, who lands on their doorstep. Maybe the fact that none of Crisis‘ six episodes clocks in at more than 30 minutes reveals just how little Allen seems to care about the medium and the possibilities of the platform because the meandering series takes several episodes to break the smallest of comedic and narrative sweats.

Back in 1969, the Oscar winner made a very funny mock documentary called Take The Money And Run. When Crisis was formally announced, Allen said seemingly in jest that he thought Amazon brass might end up regretting giving him the dough and the opportunity. They should because he certainly took the money and ran here. To paraphrase a character in the series — Allen really missed a beat here.

Click on my video review of Crisis in Six Scenes and you’l see what I mean.