HAPPY! is an amazing series on the SyFy channel that brings the graphic novel by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson to life. The story is about a former NYPD detective, Nick Sax, who becomes a washed up hitman with no morals and pretty much every bad habit known to man. When Sax becomes involved with an imaginary friend named Happy, a dynamic “partnership” is made and the story unfolds….
I know what you’re thinking… what da hell?!! Trust me, this story is glorious!! Nick Sax, played by Chris Meloni (the guy from SVU who is even cooler than Ice T), is the anti hero that you can’t help but root for. Think of John McClain (Die Hard), meets Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon), with a splash of all the Expendables and you got our hero… a man with no good traits but has a heart of gold and will ultimately do the right thing at probably the wrong moment.
His partner, Happy, is an imaginary friend voiced by Patton Oswalt (the voice of the rat from Disney’s Ratatouille), who is a cartoonish blue horse with buck teeth, a pink unicorn horn and wings. He has the moral values of a completely trusting and virtuous child, the rational compass to boot, and is obviously the complete opposite of Sax. Put these two characters into the dark world of the mob and the dirty streets of New York and you have all the ingredients for an amazing adventure.
Without giving too much away, Sax finds himself in control of something very valuable to the mob which makes him the number one target in the city. If that wasn’t enough, he finds himself personally involved in an ongoing abducted child ring that has him chasing the very same people that want him. Happy is the imaginary friend of one of these children, who finds Sax and convinces him to help save the little girl he cares for.
In my humble opinion, the story is the perfect mix of comedy, dark humor and social commentary. Each episode (so far) has been a unique balance of character development and furthering the viewers interest in the plot. I mean, it has been a long time since I have watched a show that has kept me following along and made me wanna know what every single character is up to. Hell, even the minor characters and plot notes you would think don’t mean anything have basis and interest!
The actors are the PERFECT people to play each role. Their abilities to be over the top and really “flesh” out a character is amazing in this show. Remember, we are talking about the adaptation of a graphic novel into a television series…. You want that “larger than life” feeling.
On the side of the bad guys, you have:
Francisco “Mr. Blue” Scaramucci (Ritchie Coster), Very Bad Santa (Joseph D. Reitman) and Smoothie (Patrick Fischler). Mr. Blue is the head of the local mafia and has an agenda for total domination. His henchmen, Very Bad Santa and Smoothie are complete psychopaths with unique issues that make them totally evil and “hateable”. Each actor has taken their character to the limits and have created personas that the viewer wants to watch, all be it with their hands half covering their eyes.
The good (at times, questionable) guys are:
Amanda Hansen (Medina Senghore), Det. Meredith McCarthy (Lili Mirojnick) and Hailey Hansen (Bryce Lorenzo). Amanda is the mother desperately searching for her taken daughter, Hailey. Both mother and daughter are very strong characters and you love them from beginning to end. Det. McCarthy is a different story… she has a checkered past, a questionable present and an uncertain future. Each one is a strong willed and determined character that each actor portrays with perfection. I am especially fond of Medina Senghore’s portrayal of Amanda Hansen, as, without giving any spoilers, you realize the depth Senghore puts into the character as the story grows (trust me, she is AMAZING!!)
Every other character, no matter how small the role, is completely fleshed out… from the waitress at a Chinese restaurant to the random people that Happy runs into, each one has a dynamic personality with flaws and charm. Im telling you, if you love a rich story with excellent characters, you’ve hit the jackpot!!
Sooooo, with all this said, HAPPY! is an amazing adventure with complete characters and perfect cinematography. Its a perfect series for the true comic nerds out there and will keep you on the edge for the entire ride. Watch this with a comic book mentality… meaning, watch it with the understanding that reality is suspended and that “crazy” is an awesome thing that we should all embrace and enjoy.
Like I Said, HAPPY! will make you happy that we finally have a show that panders to the “dirtier” side of us all. Quick warning, don’t let the kids watch this and, if you’re a prude, you’ll hate it too. For all us cool people (right?, super cool men and women who read comics and may be planning their cosplay outfits for the next Comic Con are cool, right??) will enjoy the irreverent humor and comic book style fight scenes that make up this amazing series.
9.5 imaginary friends outta 10
-John (guest reviewer from Take Too Takedown)