What Smiles Are For
When Christmas Was Christmas
Year of the Horse
White Sauce? Hot Sauce?
The Scrapyard of Childish Things
Destroyer of Worlds
I Am the Future
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, a genre-defying show like Happy! comes along and blows all expectations out the water. Packing a dark humour, eye-watering violence and an astonishingly ruthless story, Happy! is an incredible series that manages to constantly reinvent itself and surprise you with every episode. Featuring an utterly ridiculous yet endearing premise, Happy! shouldn’t work as well as it does but somehow its oddities and unique quirks that set it apart are also the reason the show works as well as it does making it the biggest surprises to come out of 2017.
At face value, Happy! has all the ingredients to be an instant fail. After all, an ex-cop turned hitman who can suddenly see a little girl’s imaginary friend sounds utterly ridiculous. Even more so when the imaginary friend eventually works with this hitman to track down a child snatching, meth smoking Santa (Joseph D. Reitman) dangerously teetering on the edge of sanity. With such a dark and grim storyline, its always difficult to balance that with the humour Happy! packs throughout the 8 episodes yet somehow this Syfy original navigates these tricky waters to perfection and gets the balance right with a twisted, dark sense of humour akin to that of Deadpool. The show certainly has its laugh out loud moments but they’re balanced with an equal amount of ruthless, unwavering violence soaked in blood and gore. With a supporting cast of characters almost as well written as rough-around-the-edges Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni) its hard to find faults in this outrageously endearing series.
Whilst many of the characters follow a predictable arc, the script writing and plot are so well crafted they easily overshadow the simplicity of the character journeys showcased. Focal figure Nick has a simple anti-hero to hero journey and is easily the most fleshed out but everyone from little girl Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) to the bad Santa and even Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) have distinct, believable journeys through the series that grow their persona, making them different at the end of the final episode compared to the start of the first. This detailed characterisation really elevates Happy! and helps set it apart from other shows that don’t take as much care in this area.
Some shows start out strongly and tend to fizzle out long before the final credits roll but thankfully Happy!’s short 8 episode length and tight writing make it one of the most tonally consistent shows to be released in quite some time. This unwavering detail is helped by some very slick editing and unique ideas showcased in each episode making Happy! as unpredictable as it is gripping. It’s difficult to summarise just how good Happy! is without falling into tired cliches but it really is one of a kind. There’s some strong themes around morals, hope, imagination and growing up but they’re subtly placed through the episodes and never intrude on the overall story that somehow makes a flying, blue unicorn seem normal in the violent and often bloody world of New York.
Happy! is not just one of the best shows of 2017, its also one of the most unique slices of television I’ve seen in a very long time. The characters are perfectly written with believable motivations and clear personalities that change and grow as the episodes pass. Coupled with a violent, unwavering dark tone that hangs over every scene of the show, Happy! balances the maturely written storyline with a twisted sense of humour that work together harmoniously from start to finish. Technically, Happy! is outstanding too and the 8 episode length is short enough to prevent it from outstaying its welcome. With a second season greenlit and a nice easter egg during the post credit scene of the last episode, Happy! promises to be more outrageous and insane next time around and quite frankly, we can’t wait to see it.
Verdict - 9.5/10