There’s a lot to chuckle at the new Netflix series The Pentaverate by Canadian comedian Mike Myers – although most critics didn’t like it. The six parts of the satire were all put on the streaming channel at once in May.
I would like a lance for the Pentaverate break because I thought it was funny, as did many viewers who gave their verdict online. Myers’ new series is full of ridicule and self-mockery about the society and media world poisoned by conspiracy theories. That theme makes the production interesting, unlike Mike Myers’ previous film The Love Gurus, a lame sex joke movie. Contrary to the critics, I find the fact that there are always quick and many jokes, from sharp to shit-and-pee, stimulating. The Pentaverate is serious, satirical and corny at the same time.
A secret conspiracy against conspiracy theories, that’s how you might consider the series. Because The Pentaverate is the name of a secret society of five (penta in Latin) smart (rich) people and scientists, who want to help society forward with the scientific truth (verate). As Jeremy Irons explains in the intro movie, the society has been around since the Middle Ages, when five smart people realized that the plague was not a punishment from God, but a flea-borne disease. They were persecuted as dangerous heretics, so they have been operating in secret ever since. They’re always picking new smarties—four out of five now, Myers’ specialty, are played by himself.
With the arduous effort to recruit a new member, a black astronomer on the brink of solving the climate crisis, the series begins. He is kidnapped. To mask his disappearance, the outside world is led to believe that he died while trying a new internet challenge: kissing your own anus. Myers briefly shows how various newspapers in the US deliver that news (He focused on the wrong starreports a tabloid).
At the same time, we follow a nearly-discarded old Canadian TV news reporter, also played by Myers, who breaks into the secret Pentaverate headquarters for a report with a young black camerawoman with the help of a “conspiracy theorist” (also a top role of Myers). That’s all hilarious.
Just like the stuff at the Society’s headquarters, where the security guards are a sort of Papal Swiss Guard, with plume helmets and lances, in an otherwise full science fiction environment where a super-intelligent computer with consciousness gives advice. A wise witch (Jennifer Saunders), arriving by hyperloop underground ‘The Musk’ (a joke on Elon Musk, who develops such trains) discovers that the fifth member to be replaced has been murdered. With a poison that turns his brown eyes blue. Indeed, from Crystal Gayle’s hit ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’. From that moment on it also becomes an insane whodunit. So much for part of part one of the unjustly spurned series. Further on, Netflix attempts to keep some comedies modest are also mocked, and media mogul Rupert Murdoch is poked fun at. The fact that the lock is weak does not detract from the fun.
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of June 22, 2022