comedy & parody

[TV Review] Happy! Season 1 (2017) ★★★★★

Nick and Happy in Happy! season 1

Happy! does make you laugh out loud, cringe and will certainly amaze you with its unique blend of genres and characters. 


Happy! is a brilliant, bizarre, absurd, hilarious, crude, weird series full of action, violence, dark humor, fantasy, horror, and drama. All mixed into a wonderful fantastical story like you have never seen before. It’s a fun rollercoaster ride that is stitched together in a very creative, original and imaginative way, in which both the characters and the story have time to shine. But it strangely is also a very touching series, with a big heart, that addresses hefty traumas that are dealt with in a most tragic and bizarre way. 

Happy! is definitely not a series for the faint of heart and it’s certainly not for everyone. It has an acquired taste, very dark humor and crude gruesome graphic violence. But those looking for something odd, quirky and off-kilter, then this one is certainly worth checking out.

This first season consists of 8 episodes with each a duration of 43 minutes. It has a continuous storyline in which the mystery unravels, strange events and creatures rise to the surface and a race against the clock starts to find a missing girl.


Plot

Nick Sax is a disgraced former police detective who now spends his days drinking, sleeping around, taking drugs and renting himself out as a hitman, and has become a lowlife social outcast who is divorced and doesn’t even know he has a kid Hailey with his ex-wife. 

Hailey lives with her mom Amanda and loves the tv show by Sonny Shine and at an event Wishtacular in which Sonny performs with his Wishees, Hailey is being kidnapped. Her imaginary small blue-winged unicorn friend Happy goes in search for her father who can rescue her.

Strangely enough Nick can also see Happy. Although he thinks Happy is annoying, they both grow on each other, learn from each other and have to work together to find and rescue Hailey. 

But there’s a much more sinister plot at work and soon Nick might be in over his head. He has to find Very Bad Santa, the kidnapper, stay on the run from the mafia, after he killed the Scaramucci brothers, while he also accidentally is told a secret password, which uncle Blue wants to get his hands on. 

He needs all the help he can get. He teams up with Happy, gets reluctant backup from his former partner and lover Meredith and a fierce Amanda. 


Why you should watch it

Happy! is a motley crew of styles, genres, characters, bizarre happenings that easily could have led to chaos, but proves to be a well organized chaos with a strong story arc and evenly strong characters that form a strong foundation. It’s a series like you have never seen before. It’s a unique story with an authentic tone and voice. It combines fantasy, dark humor, horror, the occult, extreme violence, drama, touching scenes, absurdism and live action animation and Christmas which is all balanced out in a great way.

The whole style is very imaginative and original, from the set design to the well-crafted characters, the villains, the cinematography and the way the story unfolds. But how crazy it gets, there’s also room for very serious themes, like abuse and traumas that are handled with care, and result in both dark humor and tragic conclusions. 

Nick and Happy are the heart of the series. With Happy the ever optimistic and happy blue unicorn and Nick the grumpy man with a death wish. They complement each other in a most weird way and are cause for some hilarious scenes. They both steal the show and this odd combination works really well. Their relationship is fun and serious at the same time, learning from each other and finally becoming best friends, forming a perfect pair. 

All the good and normal characters with their flaws are very fleshed out becoming real people. Meredith has her own problems as a cop and a daughter, while Amanda is a fierce mother who has to team up with her ex-husband’s ex-lover Meredith which complicates things. But the need to rescue Hailey is far more important. Hailey herself is a brilliant mix of both her father and mother, fierce, brave, smart and stands up for the weaker ones. 

These good guys and girls are the opposite of the crazy motley crew of villains. In contrast to the fleshed out and well developed heroes, the villains are the most bizarre caricatures that keep on to amaze you. Blue is a mafia boss and a scary one at that. His grandson Mickey who survived Nick’s murder spree has become the demon Orcus. His sister Isabella calls in the help of an old witch. And then there’s Smoothie a handler/hitman/serial killer/torturer who is a psychopath and a real creep and crazy, but strangely enough also a bit tragic. Then there’s the Very Bad Santa who’s also a bit crazy and tragic. 

But that’s not all. The most weird adversaries are Sonny Shine, who is an elusive and really weird figure and Mr Bug who has orgies with other people dressed up as animals and with the Wishees who are the most weird and gross creatures. 

Well, if that isn’t crazy enough for you, this will all be mixed together in a great storyline, that becomes more crazy and violent by the minute, while also guarding the serious undertone, and keeping the balance between humor and fantasy horror. Then throw in some surreal scenes where Nick is thrown into an episode of Jerry Springer, another scene that plays out in Toyland and a support group for abandoned imaginary friends that Happy joins and Happy! transforms into the most freakish extraordinary series you need to watch. 


My favorite part

I really did love everything about this series. It was so well-made and it all fits in so well, turning absolute strangeness and chaos into a touching story is an accomplishment indeed. The weirdness is taken to whole new levels of weird as is the craziness, campiness, the violence and the humor. It’s a series for which it is hard to exactly outline all the bizarre situations and characters. 

Happy and Hailey were my all time favorite characters. Hailey is so bold and clever and a wonderful character. And so is Happy. He’s annoyingly happy and positive like he’s on drugs all the time, but eventually he will grow on you and you wish you had a blue unicorn on your shoulder when you’re feeling blue. Although he’s just animated he really comes to life and a fully-fledged and unmissable character. He doesn’t stay two dimensional but gets fleshed out with his own emotions, motivations and personality. He’s such an innocent and naive unicorn which is hilarious when confronted with Nick’s way of life and his grumpiness. Happy is very endearing and he even gets his own storyline which makes him an even more real character.  


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★★☆

Thrill factor: ★★★★☆

Gruesome factor: ★★★★★

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Happy!:


Cast and crew

Happy! is based on the graphic novel Happy created by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. The series is created by Grant Morrison and Brian Taylor. It stars Christopher Meloni (Nick), Patton Oswalt (Happy), Ritchie Coster (Blue), Lili Mirojnick (Meredith), Medina Senghore (Amanda), Bryce Lorenzo (Hailey), Patrick Fischler (Smoothie) Christopher Fitzgerald (Sonny Shine), Joseph D. Reitman (Very Bad Santa) and Debi Mazar (Isabella).

Music by: Guillaume Roussel, Blair Mowat. Cinematography: Niels Alpert, Andrew Voegeli. Production company: Original Film, Littleton Road, Universal Cable Productions. Original network: Syfy.


Check the trailer below


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