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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Staged is a British comedy series about two recognizable actors trying to keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) and Michael Sheen (Good Omens, Masters of Sex) star as themselves, and their wives and friends round out the cast. The show mostly takes place within a series of teleconferencing calls (though, unlike other similar shows, it consistently changes settings and camera angles). Most of the show is improvised, and the comedy revolves around the restlessness of being in shutdown, working from home, and behind-the-scenes theater and film stuff. It's like a 2020 version of Extras or The Comeback. Over time, the series begins to incorporate guest stars like Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Palin.
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What's the Story?
STAGED begins when a project that actors David Tennant and Michael Sheen are working on gets canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a series of videoconferences, they decide to begin rehearsing a new production during lockdown, a performance of the Italian absurdist masterpiece Six Characters in Search of an Author. Soon enough, both the play and the pandemic completely take over their lives.
Is It Any Good?
The burgeoning subgenre of movies and shows built around videoconferencing has felt doomed from the start. While it provides a way for actors and writers to produce new material during the COVID-19 pandemic, teleconferencing is a visual dead zone, and the stories tend to be about lockdown-induced anxiety and boredom. Yawns are contagious; if actors are doing it, viewers probably are as well. Staged is a cut above just by virtue of being willing to move the camera around, change the set, and introduce new characters, including some fun guest appearances. The jokes are pretty standard stuff about video etiquette and actors' egos, but Tennant and Sheen are at least affable and fun to watch. The show really starts to take off in season two, with a twist that turns season one entirely on its axis, but the series is still just pleasantly marking time until lockdown ends.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the shutdown. How are David and Michael forced to adapt to life during the pandemic? What advantages or disadvantages do they have?
How does the pandemic shutdown affect the actors' careers? How do they respond? How are their friends and family impacted?
Did you learn anything about the TV, film, or theater industries from Staged? How does the show change in season 2? What are the differences between Staged in Britain and in America?
- Premiere date: March 16, 2021
- Cast: Michael Sheen, David Tennant
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: March 1, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
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Poignant pandemic series has laughs, tears, mature content.
For kids who love British comedies
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