It’s been many years since Detective Elliot Stabler left the Special Victims Unit, and many fans left the beloved Law & Order series with him. Since then, actor Christopher Meloni has been keeping busy. He swung by HBO’s sexy vampire series, True Blood, popped up in Man of Steel, and even had his own short-lived sitcom, Surviving Jack. Meloni seems to enjoy doing comedy because he returned to his Wet Hot American Summer roots for both Netflix series, but he couldn’t stay away from the dramas – being pulled into two very different historical pieces Underground and Pose.
But now, with season two just over a month away, Meloni may have found his stride in the perfect balance of comedy and drama, love and violence, reality and fantasy: it’s SYFY’s Happy!
Based on a graphic novel series of the same name, Happy! is a trippy live action series about a former police detective turned alcoholic hitman who starts to see his estranged daughter’s imaginary friend, a flying unicorn thing… named Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt). Airing late on SYFY, the dark comedy is extremely violent, sexual, and involves large amounts of drug use. (Many believe the series is responsible for SYFY’s decision to lift its censorship of the F word).
Meloni’s performance as Nick Sax feels strangely natural. After playing Stabler for 12 years, and 38 episodes as Chris Keller on Oz, Sax is the obvious culmination of those roles and more. There is no doubt that the Sax we meet in season one of Happy! is what would happen if Stabler’s entire family was brutally slaughtered and he were dishonorably kicked off the force. Meloni’s believable portrayal of a self-sabotaging, self-medicating, and self-loathing disgraced cop sets the solid foundation for a fantastical dark comedy about Evil Santas and imaginary flying furry unicorn friend thingies.
Sax isn’t alone – well, he is, but there are other people in this universe. His former partner – and former lover – compromised Det. Meredith McCarthy (Lili Mirojnick) is chasing bad guys like mob boss Mr. Blue (Ritchie Coster) and Blue’s go-to torturer Smoothie (Patrick Fischler). Sax also has an ex-wife, Amanda Hansen (Medina Senghore), who never informed him of his daughter, Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo). And then there’s Sonny Shine (Christopher Fitzgerald), an entertainer from a children’s show… who is also into intense fetish stuff. His connection to all this is quite complicated.
The first season is definitely a wild ride (“bat-shit crazy” is also a great adjective) and absolutely worth a binge on Netflix before the second season premiere. The 8-episode first season took on Christmas, and now it’s time to violate Easter. Happy! returns to SYFY on March 27 2019.
Happy! returns to SYFY on March 27 2019
— Yael Tygiel