Arnold Schwarzenegger is an icon, starring in some of the biggest, boldest and best action movies the 80’s and 90’s gave us. Here he is, decades later finally making his television debut in FUBAR, which sadly doesn’t come close to the kind of fun its titular acronym alludes to.
One of the benefits of a platform like Netflix, is that its content doesn’t have to conform to the boundaries that network TV shows face. I’m not saying all streaming shows need to be chock full of f-words and nudity, but FUBAR occupies a weird kind of in-between space, never sure if it wants to push ratings boundaries or play it safe. The show has a strange aversion to cursing in some episodes, subbing in words like “fluffin” for their harsher counterparts, but then it’ll go off in another episode with a handful of actual f-bombs.
Besides the occasional bad word, this show plays almost everything else incredibly safe, feeling closer to a dated, run of the mill network show than a premium streaming title. That’s not a huge surprise, as the series creator has a background in network tv, but it’s a bit disappointing given the star vehicle and a platform that allows for a lot more. The show follows a procedural “adventure of the week” formula, but cleverly masks it as a serialized story by cutting an episode’s climax and tacking it onto the beginning of the next one.
Arnie’s still got it though, and he was one of the only reasons I stuck with the show through these 8 episodes. Even though most of the humour is wordy and over-written, his line delivery never fails to entertain. Just hearing him say “choppa” made me giddy and nostalgic for his glory days. Monica Barbaro makes for a solid counterpart, with this father daughter spy dynamic leading to some amusing banter.
FUBAR plays things too safe to make for a rewarding watch, but thanks to Schwarzenegger and Barbaro’s dynamic, it’s an easy watch. If the show does get renewed for a second season, I hope it pushes boundaries a little more, because as it stands right now, I can’t say for sure I’ll be back.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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