Miracle Workers: Dark Ages

Dept. of Medieval Mirth


I have to admit, that before receiving preview access, I had never heard of Miracle Workers or the humorist Simon Rich, upon whose writing the series is based. I completely missed the first season with its disinterested God (Steve Buscemi) and the staff of Heaven Inc.’s Department of Answered prayers, including Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Karan Soni, but don’t worry if you did too. This second season completely ignores the first season (as far as I can tell) and just reuses it’s cast in a medieval set comedy.

To give you an idea of where humour is at, the show sets it up straight away, as Geraldine Viswanathan’s character muses “Do You ever think we’re living during a particularly bad period in history?” while playing a drinking game at a public execution.

It’s not quite “snarky” but the show drops characters with modern sensibilities and reasoning into their medieval milieu. Almost like The Flintstones set in the Dark Ages without the talking appliances.

After three episodes, the plot, such as it is, focuses mostly on Geraldine Viswanathan’s Alexandra, who is searching for a meaningful role in life, while Radcliffe’s Prince Chauncley slowly (very slowly) realises that he  might not be living up to his warmongering father’s expectations, a gruff Peter Serafinowicz, with his duck show and life of privilege.

Of the two, Alexandra’s story does feel more relatable, as she strives to find meaning in a world where most of her peers just go into the business of their parents, and hence their surnames. Like Ted Carpenter who’s becoming a carpenter, or Mary Baker. Or Wesley Pervert. As you can imagine Alexandra Shitshoveler isn’t too keen on following her father (Buscemi) into the family business.

Based upon the three episodes I’ve seen, the show is laced with gags but most of them raise a grin more than a belly laugh. The majority of the humour comes from the juxtaposition of the character’s utterly modern outlooks with the lack of knowledge at the time. Like an American high-schools bell ringing at the school Alexandra attends for one day. A school where, despite her expectations of a 3rd level education, she only learns three lessons (not classes) based upon superstition. Why? Because it’s the dark ages dummy, no one knows anything!  

The performances are all great, especially Buscemi who sells every goofy line and situation. Viswanathan is an endearing lead, but Radcliffe gets to have more fun playing a feckless princely fool. Karan Soni (Deadpool’s Dopinder) also does sterling work as the put upon Lord who usually ends up dealing with Radcliffe’s nonsense. Miracle Workers: Dark Ages also suffers from the same issue that faces any show with the great Peter Serafinowicz in it: it needs more Peter Serafinowicz in it.

Parents take note, this is definitely not a show for young kids thanks to the language. Sure the few f**ks are bleeped out, but a lot, and I mean a lot of the jokes revolve around shit and shit shovelling. Horrible Histories this is not.

At time of writing, it is unknown how many episodes there are after these initial three, but it feels like the the series could do with some kind of overall plot-line. At the moment it’s just a loose framework for setting up that particular week’s jokes. While the odd one liner or background gag may catch you off guard, it’s not quite reaching the heights of something like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Miracle Workers: Dark Ages airs on Warner TV (Astro 719 /uniFi TV 451) same day as the U.S at 10.40PM on Wednesday’s from 29 January 2020.

Miracle Workers: Dark Ages
Warner TV, Season 2
Creator: Simon Rich                       
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan, Karan Soni, Jon Bass, Lolly Adefope, Steve Buscemi, and Peter Serafinowicz


Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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