Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 8 x 30m episodes
Director(s): Jay Roach
Creator(s): Nancy Fichman, Katie Ford, Jennifer Hoppe
Cast: Patricia Arquette, Brad Garrett, Weruche Opia, Bernadette Peters, Rupert Friend, Matt Dillon, Christine Taylor
Where To Watch: first three episodes premiere on Apple TV+ on May 17, 2023, with additional episodes weekly after
RAVING REVIEW: HIGH DESERT is a series that is a multi-faceted mix of drama, mystery, and comedy, all wrapped up in eccentricity that makes it uniquely engaging, even with some bumps in the road. The series' success will undoubtedly come from the performance of Patricia Arquette, who embodies the character of Peggy, a woman dealing with constant personal chaos.
The narrative of HIGH DESERT is a labyrinth of interlaced subplots which, despite a few hiccups, still hangs on as an enjoyable trip. However, as the story progresses, the narrative crumbles under its weight, presenting a more confusing experience that should be easier to follow. It doesn’t ruin the series but it feels disjointed from the first few episodes.
This series showcases a unique blend of biting wit, dark humor, and sincere moments. The ensemble cast, including Patricia Arquette, Bernadette Peters, Weruche Opia, Jayden Gomez, and Christine Taylor, under the solid direction of Jay Roach, brings an undeniable talent to the screen. Their performances, especially Arquette's portrayal of Peggy, are the heart of HIGH DESERT and lend a certain charm that makes the series stand out.
HIGH DESERT explores Peggy's character, looking deep into her psyche. Patricia Arquette's portrayal allows her character to remain human, not a caricature. The dialogue is riddled with quirky comedy and witty one-liners highlighting the characters' eccentricities. Despite the narrative challenges, the creators of HIGH DESERT – Nancy Fichman, Katie Ford, and Jennifer Hoppe-House – keep the script witty and sharp.
Arquette's Peggy finds herself entangled in several engaging storylines; as the narrative twists and turns, Peggy discovers more than she was expecting, resulting in more profound character development. Peggy's journey as a novice private investigator navigating this world provides laughs and empathy for her more significant struggles in the series. Her rookie status in private investigation leads to more amusing hiccups and mixups, adding another layer to the series' comedic appeal.
Ultimately, HIGH DESERT aims to be an experimental mix of genres, combining mystery, drama, and comedy while tackling grief and personal growth themes and a woman dealing with grief, a mid-life crisis, and the eccentricities of her community. Viewers are left with a unique feeling at the end of the series.
HIGH DESERT is a series that, despite its inconsistencies, intrigues and entertains. The unique blend of humor and drama, propelled by Patricia Arquette's captivating performance, provides a series that remains enjoyable throughout its run.
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[photo courtesy of APPLE TV+]