Critics have not been kind to The Pentaverate, Mike Myers' new team-up with Netflix.
The six-part comedy debuted on Netflix on Friday (May 6) and sees Myers playing no fewer than nine roles.
Myers' main role is Ken Scarborough, a slightly hapless Canadian journalist who, in a desperate bid to get a scoop and revive his career, accidentally stumbles upon a conspiracy that alleges that a secret society of five men has been controlling world events since the Black Death plague of 1347. If Scarborough exposes them, he might just save the world, but, like all great conspiracies, powerful forces are ready to silence him...
Joining Myers in the cast are Ken Jeong, Keegan-Michael Key, Debi Mazar, Richard McCabe, Jennifer Saunders and Lydia West, while Rob Lowe and E! presenter Maria Menounos appear as fictionalized versions of themselves.
The series returns to the knockabout, lewd and gag-filled style that Myers showed off so successfully and lucratively in the Austin Powers trilogy and both Wayne's World movies, but the initial reactions from critics have been far from kind...
What have the critics said?
Thus far, the series holds a dismal 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and good reviews are few and fair between.
Some critics have been particularly brutal. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called The Pentaverate "a profoundly unfunny series of sex and poop jokes", while Variety's Caroline Framke described the show's lack of "editorial eye and surprisingly expensive production value" as "emblematic of what Netflix has become now."
Joel Keller of Decider really put the boot in, writing that the show is "...a not-funny exercise in ego by Myers that strains to tell jokes that are about as fresh as a week-old avocado", while Salon's Melanie McFarland said that the show's "...humor feels crustily outdated in 2022."
There have been a smattering of good reviews. The Guardian's Lucy Mangan didn't love the show, but gave it a solid 3/5, calling it "...a sweet, silly, charmingly harmless thing", while The AV Club's William Hughes wrote of the "...undeniable thrill to watching Myers, still a comedy genius when he cares to be."
Myers can take some comfort from his Rotten Tomatoes audience score, which sits at a far healthier 68%. The Canadian star has gone up and down with the critics over the years – he enjoyed lavish praise for his turns in Shrek and Austin Powers, but he's had some real kickings too. His take on Dr Seuss' classic children's story, The Cat In The Hat, has an awful 9% rating, and knockabout comedy The Love Guru is rated at just 13%.
Given Netflix's current big success is 365 Days, a film with a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's fair to say that the streamer will be looking at how many people watch The Pentaverate before asking Myers to return for another round, rather than relying on the crtics.
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Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…