Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later from Netflix and Amazon’s Comrade Detective certainly have a few things in common: both launch tomorrow, boast star-studded casts, and feature Ronald Reagan. However, where they differ is that the Channing Tatum- and Joseph Gordon-Levitt led Comrade Detective is a highly watchable satire and witty simulacra of what claims to be an overdubbed Romanian cop show from the early 1980s. On the other hand, the latest Wet Hot is distinctly a sequel too far, as I say in my video review above.
Honestly, there are only a couple of gags and giggles to be had out of Ten Years Later, the distinctly plotless and oddly nostalgia-bleached eight-episode sequel to Netflix’s 2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp, itself a prequel to the 2001 cult big-screen satire. Even with the combined star power of Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Big Sick director Michael Showalter, Christopher Meloni, and Elizabeth Banks along with Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Lake Bell and Josh Charles and new additions that include Adam Scott and Alyssa Milano, Ten Years Later (yes, set 10 years after the 1981-set prequel series) just feels old – and I’m a fan of the film and the prequel.
Even though it is set more than 30 years ago, old is certainly not what I would call Comrade Detective from the House of Bezos, Tatum’s Free Association and A24. Playing almost entirely straight with its rediscovered Cold War classic premise, the six-episode series created by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka makes for a great short weekend binge if you want something different and disarmingly inventive. In a cast that includes the vocal talents of Jenny Slate, Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Nick Offerman among many more, Tatum and Gordon-Levitt provide the English-language voices of Bucharest-based detectives Gregor Anghel and Iosef Baciu, who are played onscreen by Romanian actors Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici.
Tracking down the killing of cop, the duo find themselves chasing a man in a Reagan mask and pulled into a greater conspiracy with very distinct perspectives from a time when the Cold War was heating up between the Soviet bloc and the West. Comrade Detective is also actually a pretty good cop show unto itself, with its own code of blue and bits of David Lynch and Joseph Nye weaved into the mix along with reverse propaganda slamming the crime, poverty, racial inequity a and Jordache jeans that dominate America.
So, click on my review of Comrade Detective and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later to see more of my take on the two series that premiere August 4. Will you be watching or binge-ing?