Boy oh boy, did I ever want to like Jordan Peele’s reboot of the television classic, but it’s so profoundly flawed that you can practically feel the air leaving the room the more it goes on. The casting is hit and miss: For every terrific performance by the likes of Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Scott and Taissa Farmiga, there are several instances of painful stunt casting (like a truly atrocious appearance by Tracy Morgan and a late-series cameo via technological advances that;s truly distasteful) that only serve to mar the show’s atmosphere by taking you out of the narrative. Some episodes, like an updated “Nightmare at 13,000 Feet,” feel unnecessarily padded with baffling plots that aren’t as interesting as the show thinks they are, while others (like “Not All Men”) start off well but gradually deteriorate into tiresome, formulaic structures. However, all of that would be passable were it not for Peele’s overly earnest, distracting narration, which feels like the worst kind of vanity casting: He’s completely wrong for the role, and a late-series in-joke about his underwhelming narration doesn’t change that fact. Luckily, there’s at least one home-run of an episode: “The Wunderkind,” starring a never-better John Cho and an immensely effective Jacob Tremblay, is the type of “Black Mirror”-like indictment of current sociological events that suggests a much better show. As it is, it’s somewhere between underwhelming and promising, but there are several necessary creative overhauls that could improve the show.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)