Woody Allen has a TV ‘Crisis’

Woody Allen and Elaine May in Amazon TV’s “Crisis in Six Scenes.”
Photo: Courtesy

Two stars

Crisis in Six Scenes Season 1 available September 30 on Amazon.

There’s a running gag throughout writer-director Woody Allen’s misguided Amazon TV series Crisis in Six Scenes in which Allen’s character, mid-level novelist Sidney Munsinger, is considering the potentially lucrative idea of writing a TV sitcom despite his disdain for the medium. Allen is a filmmaking legend who probably isn’t hard up for cash, but it’s tough to shake the feeling that the only reason he agreed to make Crisis is because Amazon offered him far too much money to refuse.

Really, though, Crisis is a TV series by only the loosest possible definition. It features a single storyline broken into six pieces that don’t have their own beginnings or endings. Allen and Elaine May play comfortable suburbanites in the late 1960s whose values are challenged when Lennie (Miley Cyrus), the daughter of a family friend, shows up unexpectedly at their house on the run from the law. Lennie’s left-wing activism clashes with Sidney’s need for stability in a way that almost makes clever commentary on the current political climate, but is really just an excuse for third-rate versions of familiar Allen jokes. The dialogue is stilted, the performances are awkward and most scenes go on twice as long as they should, as if that was the only way Allen could fill enough time for six episodes. If he shares Sidney’s contempt for TV, he might as well just stay away.

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