Tag Archives: Shakespeare

You should watch Slings and Arrows


Mild spoilers, if you hate knowing anything about what happens, I suggest you don’t read any further.

Guard: Are you a suicide risk?
Geoffrey Tennant: Isn’t everybody?

I wanted to share a quick recommendation for anyone who’s looking for something short and engaging to watch over the holiday break. If you have Netflix, you can stream all three seasons of Slings and Arrows the Canadian series about the behind the scenes shenanigans of the New Burbage Shakespeare festival and the power of theatre to stir the soul. I can’t think of anything remotely like it on American TV. It’s thoughtful, funny, well written and acted, adult in a non-HBO/Showtime ultra violent/sexualized way, and when one of the character’s dies, he requests his skull be used in all future performances of Hamlet. So, I present to you a quick and dirty list of why you should watch it.

  1. Shakespeare. If you are like me and really enjoy the Bard, and unless your some kind of stodgy purist, Slings and Arrows will repeatedly remind you why his work is wonderful and how it continues to resonate.
  2. It’s hilarious. The humor is often dark and extremely silly at the same time. Death by pig truck!
  3. Ensemble cast. Paul Gross’s nutty genius Geoffry Tennant is the anchor of the series, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was its star. Most of them are unlikeable, being self-absorbed theater folks for the most part, but they are a joy to watch. The stage manager, Maria, one of the more minor characters, is fully realized as a person, as are other smaller characters. Anna, one the administrators, is perhaps one of my favorite TV characters ever.
  4. If you like anything remotely meta, then this series might also be your cup of tea, especially the last season, which has a secondary plot concerning television acting, the theater and selling out. Excellent stuff.
Ellen: This isn’t a sitcom.
Geoffery: Oh well yes actually, it is. I have a broken wang and there is a lizard queen living downstairs.