Tv Review: Miracle Workers: Dark Ages Episode 1

miracle workers s2e1 index
The first series of Miracle Workers was an enjoyable old thing, not perfect by any means but a fun romp that kept me gripped as Daniel Radcliffe’s angel Craig did his best to save humanity from a selfish (and rather stupid) God played by Steve Buscemi. But rather than making a direct sequel to that story creator Simon Rich has decided to produce an anthology series, so we get the same bunch of actors but a completely new selection of characters and a very, very different setting.

Thus we’re no longer up in Heaven, or following the antics of one couple in the 21st Century who will save the world if they ever get around to kissing, but right back in the Dark Ages. Although this is a Dark Ages which only contains modern dialogue and in the form of Alexandra Shitshoveler (Geraldine Viswanathan) a woman who is deeply unhappy with her lot and desperately wants more from life, which considering it was an era where everyone’s surname describes their job it’s hardly unsurprising.

Steve Buscemi is her father Eddie Shitshoveler, once again he may not be the brightest character but he’s far more likeable than he was last year as he’s a caring, loving man who’s prepared to risk his life for his daughter, and indeed needs to when Prince Chauncley (Daniel Radcliffe) is (sort of) hit by their cart full of shit and so he sentences Eddie to death. Chauncley is normally a rather fey and useless type, but as he’s desperate to impress his father King Cragnoor (Peter Serafinowicz) he punishes Eddie for a crime he didn’t commit.

Unlike the first series the season’s story arc isn’t immediately clear, by the end of the very first episode the Earth was set to be destroyed unless Radcliffe and his friends were able to save it but here all we know is that both Alexandra and Prince Chauncley don’t want the lives their father’s had hoped for them, though only Chauncley’s father is disappointed by this. But though it’s not particularly a gripping epic in the way the first season was, I’ll still definitely be watching as it’s much, much funnier.

Not that the first season was any slouch when it came to laughs, but already this year the character’s feel like a lot more fun. Radcliffe’s Prince Chauncley may share some characteristics with last season’s Craig as he’s a bit rubbish at life, but as with Buscemi he’s an instantly more likeable character, and gets to have much more fun as he either attempts to impress his Dad with his “Amazing Duck Show” that’s been sixteen months in the making, or feigning an injury in the most obvious way ever seen.

Alexandra gets lots of very funny moments too, what with the way she hangs out with her friend Maggie (Lolly Adefope) and casually wonders”Do you ever feel like we’re living during a particularly bad period in history?”, while her dismay that her education consists of the sentence “The earth is flat, the devil is real, the sun is crazy, and that is everything we know” is a gorgeous scene too. Buscemi’s passion for his disgusting job generates a lot of laugh out loud moments, while the fact that all of them have the surname reflecting their role in life has a fantastic pay off in the form of “Wesley Pervert”.

The above is just the tip of an iceberg of fantastic gags, the cast are all once again fantastic, as is newcomer Peter Serafinowicz who’s superb as Prince Chauncley’s violence hungry and almost always disappointed King, many of the supporting character will make you laugh even if they are only in it briefly (the death obsessed hag being my particular favourite) and even though the plot is less exciting I have a feeling that this second season of the show is definitely going to be even more fun than the first was.

★★★★

Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
Our review of Miracle Workers Season 1 Episode 1 and 2.
Our review of Miracle Workers Season 1 Episode 7.

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