Rian Johnson’s Poker Face Reviews Are Already Online, and Critics Aren’t Bluffing About How Great the Mystery Series Is


Critics have seen Poker Face by Ryan Johnson and Natasha Lyonne, and they really liked the latest detective comedy. It looks like those who are interested might want to go all-in on a Peacock Premium subscription, because it doesn’t look like these reviews are bluffing about how good the new show is.

One of the common themes in Poker Face reviews is the mention of its explicit allusions to classic TV detective stories. Many reviewers, such as Daniel D’Addario from Variety, noted that the series unfolds in the same format as the classic detective series “Columbo”. D’Addario noted that while this format removes the element of the Crime News detective series, Poker Face compensates for it in two other key ways:

The crimes that Charlie investigates are not difficult to solve — and, as in the case of “Columbo”, we are ahead of the game by first observing what happened before our detective decides it over the next hour or so. But the stories are creatively constructed and beautifully cast.

The mystery may be spoiled for the viewer even before the series really unfolds, but there are many other highlights in the series. Many reviews pointed to the appearance of a number of memorable guest stars, such as actors Adrian Brody and Tim Meadows.

Linda Holmes from NPR positively assessed Natasha Lyonne’s performance as Charlie, noting that this is not much different from her previous roles. Holmes pointed out the similarities with Lyonne’s other performances in her review, adding that there are some key differences that distinguish her Charlie:

On the one hand, she is an actress who always remains herself — she doesn’t often dissolve into roles so that you say, “Wow, is this Natasha Lyonne?” But at the same time there are shades in her work here that differ, for example, from her highly appreciated role in The Russian Nesting Doll from Netflix. In this part, she is more relaxed and in control, still funny and still completely unique, but also careful and deliberate. Charlie is also much happier, even when she’s in trouble.

Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie is a former poker player on the run who has an intuition that lets her know when people are lying to her. Although Charlie is not a detective, her ability to determine the truthfulness of others eventually helps her as she unravels various murder mysteries on her travels across America.

Charles Pulliam-Moore of The Verge was another who pointed out that unlike Ryan Johnson’s popular films “Get Knives” and “Glass Bow”, which are connected to the series in one funny way, viewers will not be unaware of what is happening. Viewers will find out who committed the crime before Charlie, but Poker Face has the advantage of not being like Johnson’s other murder mystery offerings.:

In Knives Out, you will have to solve riddles together with Benoit Blanc and appreciate the skill spent on creating a story puzzle, such as Glass Onion. The same is true to a certain extent for Poker Face. But between the show’s episodic format and the space it gives its guest stars to chew through the scenery before Charlie solves the case, it ultimately feels much more alive and less cool than its Netflix cousins.

Immersion is often the key point in a quality series, so it sounds like a high score Poker Face. Perhaps it won’t impress viewers as much as a terribly stupid crime, but it has a world that seems “lived-in” and another hint of an impressive cast of guest stars.

If there are any complaints about Poker Face online, it may be one of the TVLine. Although Dave Nemec was generally a fan of the original “Peacock”, he warned viewers that their patience in the episodes could weaken due to the number of tweaks that occur in each episode.:

Your tolerance for the sluggish pace of Poker Face can also vary: episodes usually last more than an hour, and extended opening scenes detailing each week’s crimes can last almost 20 minutes before Charlie even gets to town.

Apart from this criticism, the critics are mostly big fans of Poker Face. Some, such as Rachel Leishman from Mary Sue, are already ready for new episodes, as she wrote in her positive review of the series:

There hasn’t been a show that has made me beg for more episodes and every week with the edge of the chair, for quite some time, and of course it’s Ryan Johnson (and Nora and Lilla Zuckerman) who brought it to me.

Does anyone else want to snack on a bunch of Natasha Lyonne shows and Ryan Johnson projects after reading about how great they are? Fortunately, we’ll get the best of both worlds in Poker Face, which looks like it could be a big hit for Peacock if it finds an audience.

Poker Face will premiere on Peacock on Thursday, January 26. Critics are mostly positive about the new series, but it remains to be seen whether the audience ratings will be as positive for the detective show.


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