With the Natasha Lyonne-led Poker Face, Peacock might have its first breakout hit

Almost three years after its April 2020 launch, NBC’s Peacock streaming service has finally landed what everyone seems to agree is its first can’t-miss original series. Poker Face, from creator Rian Johnson and starring Natasha Lyonne, debuts on Thursday and brings a Knives Out-style energy to its mystery-of-the-week storytelling format that, so far, critics can’t stop raving about.

It’s certainly an unusual spot for Peacock to be in, given that the streaming home of MacGruber and The Real Housewives of Miami has heretofore occupied the lower portion of the “everything else” bucket of streaming services not named Netflix. Even before now, though, that’s also been an unfair assessment and a disservice to the fine catalog of Peacock originals like The Capture and a new-ish docuseries that I’ve been enjoying titled Once Upon a Time in Londongrad.

It was only a matter of time before the streamer scored a home run like Poker Face.

Peacock’s first must-watch original series

Johnson — whose Knives Out sequel Glass Onion is currently one of the top Netflix movies both in the US as well as the world — is the creator, writer, and director of the 10-episode Poker Face.

“I’m very excited to dig into the type of fun, character-driven, case-of-the-week mystery goodness I grew up watching,” Johnson said in tandem with NBC giving the show a series order back in 2021. “It’s my happy place. Having Natasha as a partner in crime is a dream, and we’ve found the perfect home at Peacock.”

The first four episodes of the series are debuting together, on Thursday of this week, followed by one new episode every Thursday thereafter. Moreover, each episode will run about an hour in length. From Peacock’s official synopsis of the show:

“Poker Face is a 10-episode mystery-of-the-week series following Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie, who has an extraordinary ability to determine when someone is lying. She hits the road with her Plymouth Barracuda and with every stop encounters a new cast of characters and strange crimes she can’t help but solve.”

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in “Poker Face” on Peacock Image source: Phillip Caruso/Peacock

Rave reviews for Poker Face

Just ahead of the series debut, the reviews couldn’t be more glowing. The Hollywood Reporter, for example, raves that Poker Face is “a TV mystery fan’s delight,” while our sister publication Variety describes the show as “a clever, winning mystery throwback.” It continues:

“Surely one of the strongest series yet to launch on Peacock, this streaming drama feels like the best sort of vintage, comfortably spread-out TV.”

As of this writing, eight critics’ reviews available so far on Rotten Tomatoes have combined to give Poker Face a perfect 100% critics’ score to start with.

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