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Patrick Stewart debases himself in Starz comedy ‘Blunt Talk’

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Patrick Stewart in Blunt Talk

Two stars

Blunt Talk, Saturdays, 9 p.m., Starz.

The novelty of seeing Patrick Stewart—Shakespearean actor, Captain Picard, Professor X—as a drunken, drug-taking, lecherous, foul-mouthed narcissist is pretty much all the obnoxious comedy Blunt Talk has going for it, and that novelty wears off rather quickly. Stewart is, of course, a great actor, but even he can’t quite make sense of Walter Blunt, a blowhard cable-news host in the vein of Piers Morgan or Chris Matthews. Walter is introduced getting kicked out of a bar for being belligerent, then picking up a transgender prostitute and finally getting tasered and arrested by the police.

Things calm down only slightly from there, and in the first four episodes Walter continues to be a disaster in his personal life while attempting to combat declining ratings in his professional life. Creator Jonathan Ames brought a refreshingly dry wit to his previous series, HBO’s Bored to Death, but there’s nothing understated about Blunt Talk, which seems to owe more to executive producer Seth MacFarlane than to Ames. Walter’s colleagues are just as depraved as he is, but their issues feel forced, more about crass, envelope-pushing jokes than character development. Stewart dives into his role with admirable gusto, but the show around him isn’t worthy of his talents.

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