Crisis in Six Scenes

crisis in six scenes poster amazon woody allen
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some good moments

Feels stretched thin and Allen comes off as more annoying than clever

crisis in six scenes title card episode guide

Allen’s blunder?

Kay and Sidney Munsinger (Elaine May and Woody Alan) find their happy lives interrupted by the arrival of Lennie (Miley Cyrus) who is on the run as a radical bomber.  With Kay feeling obligated to hiding Lennie, Sidney worries that the law is coming down on him.  Kay and Sidney’s ward Alan (John Magaro) get more involved with Lennie, he questions his future with his fiancée Ellie (Rachel Brosnahan).  The pressure is on and Sidney might crack before Lennie gets out of his house.

Written and directed by Woody Allen, Crisis in Six Scenes was a limited series released on Amazon.  The series was released on September 30, 2016 and is Allen’s first foray into scripted TV.  The series was released to negative reviews and criticism.

crisis in six scenes episode 1 woody allen elaine may

It’s like being trapped in a car with old people bickering for three hours…

Woody Allen is a pretty tricky watch.  When Allen is good, he’s really good, but if he’s bad, he’s pretty bad.  Crisis in Six Scenes demonstrates what makes Allen great, but in the long format of a TV series, it also makes him fail.

Allen is known for his dialogue, ramblings, and views on society.  Putting the series in the ’60s was a smart move for parallels to today’s problems, but the TV format really doesn’t work with Allen’s writing.  The six episodes (only thirty minutes each) feel like an hour with Allen’s rambling dialogue lasting far too long…it feels like it is filling time more than exploring interesting concepts.

crisis in six scenes episode 1 rachel brosnahan john magaro

We’re hip…we listen to folk musicians in the Village

You hate to say it, but Allen also feels really old and tired.  While he used to be the wacky young guy that complained about everything, now it feels like he’s just the cranky old man and that you are trapped in a car with him and his kind of obnoxious wife for three hours.  It is like Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm without the really popping dialogue and plots.  As the series drags on, it is more difficult and disjointed to watch instead of feeling like it is coming together to a head (which it technically does).

The cast is a mix.  Allen is his normal self, and I find Elaine May more annoying than charming as the radicalized wife.  Miley Cyrus (like Allen) is also just Miley Cyrus.  She works a bit better in this script because her character’s blind devotion to her radical ideas feels more like someone in love with the idea of being a radical more than the words she spouts…and that’s a good fit for Miley.  John Magaro and his fiancée Rachel Brosnahan are intentionally bland like a Brad and Janet of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other guest stars include Michael Rapaport, Joy Behar, Lewis Black, Christine Ebersole, and Becky Ann Baker.

crisis in six scenes episode 6 miley cyrus trunk woody allen

I’m just getting in here so I don’t have to hear you bitch for another fifteen mintues

The series looks fine, but it could have looked better.  I wish that they had really stylized it for the ’60s because it looked like a modern film.  If Allen had done something unique like Technicolor or something, the movie might have popped more.  This might have helped the plot move along just in setting a scene better.

Crisis in Six Scenes has been described as a pale comparison to Allen’s past and that is kind of an apt description.  It should also be noted however that Allen has had a number of flops in the past that also were not warmly received.  There is something different here in that Allen feels more like a player in someone else’s Woody Allen play and that he should have been recast.  Allen admitted that he found making this series more difficult than he thought it would be even before it was released…and that is never a good sign.

Crisis in Six Scenes—Complete Episode Guide

crisis in six scenes episode 1 woody allen elaine may

“Episode 1”

Episode 1 Release Date:  09/30/16

Kay and Sidney Munsinger (Elaine May and Woody Allen) have a good life.  It’s the late ’60s, and the United States is in turmoil with events in Vietnam, and things are in flux.  With their friends college son Alan Brockman (John Magaro) staying at their home and Sidney trying to sell his TV series, things are happening.  After a nice dinner with Alan and his fiancé Ellie (Rachel Brosnahan), Sidney and Kay settle in for a night’s sleep…but Sidney’s decision not to set the alarm could prove to be a problem.

crisis in six scenes episode 2 miley cyrus lennie

“Episode 2”

Episode 2 Release Date:  09/30/16

Kay and Sidney find radical Lennie (Miley Cyrus) in their home, but Kay’s obligation to Lennie’s family makes Kay feel obligated to provide Lennie with a hiding place…when police stop by, problems arise.

crisis in six scenes episode 3 miley cyrus elaine maiy

“Episode 3”

Episode 3 Release Date:  09/30/16

Lennie meets Alan and finds Alan’s background is everything she hates about America.  Sidney makes an attempt to sell his show but his friend Mel (Bobby Slayton) puts new fear in Sidney that Lennie will get them arrested.

crisis in six scenes episode 4 woody allen miley cyrus

“Episode 4”

Episode 4 Release Date:  09/30/16

Sidney worries that Lennie and Alan are getting too close.  Kay has her book group with books based on Lennie’s suggestions, and the book group finds that they are becoming radicalized.  Lennie has a plan enlists Kay in it.

crisis in six scenes woody allen elaine may disguises

“Episode 5”

Episode 5 Release Date:  09/30/16

As Lennie prepares to head to Cuba, Kay reveals to Sidney that they need to head to Brooklyn for Lennie.  Alan reveals to Ellie that he feels that his feelings toward her are changing as his political views change.

crisis in six scenes episode 6 miley cyrus woody allen

“Episode 6”

Episode 6 Release Date:  09/30/16

Alan’s attempt to make a bomb fails leading to injury and problems for Kay and Sidney.  Alan’s parents (Boris McGiver and Christine Ebersole) arrive and Ellie brings her parents to meet Alan (Tom Kemp and Deborah Rush).  As Kay finds her patients’ personal lives falling apart, the book club comes to explore their radical readings.  Sydney must make a decision about Ellie’s escape.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

2 Comments on "Crisis in Six Scenes"

  1. Woody Fan October 3, 2016 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Error: Series was released on Amazon, not Netflix. I am a subscriber to both, and it was not on Netflix.

    • JPRoscoe October 4, 2016 at 12:52 am - Reply

      Thanks! I knew this…I don’t know why I put Netflix (probably because about two or three Netflix releases that day)…Corrected

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