Idris Elba, an actor known for his work on the crime show “The Wire,” stars in a new Netflix series called “Turn Up Charlie.” The first season of the comedy premiered on March 15. The contender for a new James Bond movie shows his humorous acting abilities in this eight-part series.
The show follows a middle-aged music producer named Charlie who has fallen into financial troubles. The series begins with him Disc Jockeying a friend’s wedding for 50 pounds to make the rent. His life has whittled down to something pathetic as he only has one close friend and lives with his aunt.
Charlie continuously lives his life through lies as his parents believe he is a successful music mogul, although he hasn’t had a hit in years. Luckily, at his friend’s wedding he reconnects with his childhood best friend David. David is now a largely successful actor married to an electronic dance music producer. After the two hang out for a while, Charlie meets David’s daughter Gabrielle. Gabrielle is an 11-year-old spoiled rascal who stops at nothing to drive her babysitters crazy. One thing leads to another and Charlie becomes the “manny” for Gabrielle. The two build sort of a bond as both of their lives take turns throughout the season.
I was surprised when I heard Elba was starring in a lighthearted show like “Turn Up Charlie.” Usually he plays more serious roles such as the titular character on BBC’s “Luther.” But since he is a DJ and rapper in real life, it does make sense for him to want to showcase those parts of his life through a character on film as well.
In addition to its comedic aspects, the show touches on important issues such as mental health and parental separation. A main character experiences a panic attack, and the show normalizes the use of therapy in order to cope with daily problems. Additionally there is a young gay character included seamlessly, giving more representation to youth members of the LGBTQ community.
This series provides an interesting balance between family humor and values such as the importance of love and adult themes such as drug use and sexual references. Although Gabrielle is young and in need of a babysitter, her parents expect her to act like an adult, and she is exposed to parties with drugs and alcohol. Additionally, she uses foul language, much to Charlie’s chagrin. Overall, It is an easily bingeable show that doesn’t require much thought or concentration. I was able to watch the whole season within two days.
In an interview with TV and Satellite Week, Elba confirmed that a second season of the show is in production: “It’s very exciting. I’m involved with the script creation, which is mainly seeding stories. But again, the scripts have taken on a life of their own.” “Turn Up Charlie” is a laid back, sweet comedy to watch when you want to relax or feel good. I am looking forward to the next season.