The Righteous Gemstones S1
Being a man (or woman) of the cloth doesn’t mean you have to take a vow of poverty anymore – in fact, big churches are big business. And that means big problems for the family in charge of a network of megachurches who are just a bit too interested in the trappings of money and power.
If you’re expecting to learn how to live a holy life in dark comedy The Righteous Gemstones, forget it. You might learn a thing or two about blackmail and fraud, though.
It’s created, written by and stars Danny McBride as eldest son Jesse who’s heir to the ministry run by his father Dr Eli Gemstone (played gloriously by John Goodman).
While the family preach on Sundays, they’re sinning Monday through Saturday. That includes mainlining hardcore drugs, hookers, theft, fraud, blackmail, murder and just about every other sin you can think of.
But it’s spectacularly brilliant in showing the utter hypocrisy involved in big-business ministries. It’s a case of do as I say instead of as I do. The sinning is hilariously bad, the lying is legendary, the deceit is borderline devilish.
“It unsurprisingly turned out to be a compelling and truly funny comedy,” says denofgeek.com’s Nick Harley, “but it also saw McBride and company stretch their abilities and deliver something more ambitious and poignant. What could have been a ruthless takedown of Christianity never really went for cheap shots or easy laughs, meditating instead on family, greed, and honesty. A successful season ended with a heavenly finale. Oddly angelic for this crew.”
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 81%