I’m breaking away a bit from my normal streaming go-to’s to highlight one of my favorite shows I saw in 2016 – Search Party. Which to most everyones surprise did not appear on HBO, Netflix or Amazon; but TBS. TBS did take a play the digital streaming giants and released series one all on the same day to binge watch, which was exactly what I did.
Search Party centers around twenty-something brooklynite Dory and her friends in their search of their casual college acquaintance Chantal Winterbottom who goes missing under mysterious circumstances. Dory (Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development fame), in the midst of a quarter life crisis ends up becoming obsessed with finding Chantal. She then convinces her pushover boyfriend John, and narcissistic best friends Elliot and Portia to join her in the detective work. Along the way Dory joins up with a mysterious (and maybe sexy) private detective, and a potential cult.
As the series develops you realize that the main purpose for Dory isn’t finding Chantal, but for Dory to find out where her life is heading. She’s stuck with a non passionate relationship, has no career direction, and her close friends are raging narcissists. Twenty-something Brooklynites Portia and Elliot perfectly encapsulate the Brooklyn hipster millennial stereotypes with a hilarious self-awareness. The writing has a certain subtly about it that I find extremely relatable and not over the top. Like Broad City, the show also uses real New York landmarks and restaurants to add to the hip authenticity and setting. What the show does amazingly well is smoothly mixing the genres of hipster comedy with a film noir detective procedural. The use of an haunting (electronic) score by Purity Ring and great editing and stylization the show manages to instill a spooky mood of the potential dark forces at work. The mysteriously edited teasers at the end of each episode lends itself to binge watching.
Search Party is funny, mysterious, and painfully self-aware from start to finish. It is a refreshing comedy that also highlights the emotions that many twenty-something millennials feel during these confusing post-college years. It is wonderfully acted without being too over the the top and showcases a lot of truly hip Brooklyn locales. Search Party has already been renewed for a second season and I can’t wait to see the next mystery Dory and her crew has to solve.