There’s no need to spin this story, Amazon Prime Video’s new drama Flack is a brutally honest dive into the take-no-prisoners world of high-profile publicity.
Flack previously premiered on Pop TV in 2019, but has found a new home on Amazon Prime Video. If you missed out on this spiraling descent in the dark side of the entertainment business, prepare to binge-watch the six-episode first season of the new drama.
If you are looking for something upbeat and glamorous, look elsewhere because Flack is a delightfully self-loathing and nihilistic approach to the world of celebrity publicity. While you may think the entertainment industry looks bright and shiny, scratch the surface and you will find all of the unpolished jagged edges, cocaine-riddled scandals, and the dark corners of depravity. Someone has to keep a tight lid on all of those sordid secrets and Anna Paquin's character Robyn is up for that task.
Anna Paquin is the Master of Spin in Flack
Ignore the bad reviews surrounding Flack and give the show a shot. While some reviews have taken issue with the cynical and bleak world and the hard-to-love characters, I found Flack to be a refreshingly honest approach towards the tedious world of publicity. The series doesn’t spin-doctor the realities of publicity and managing trainwreck clients that make a mess of their public image. This isn’t Netflix’s Emily in Paris, making even a hard day at a marketing firm in Paris feels like a millennial wonderland.
At the center of Flack stands Robyn (Anna Paquin) a publicist who takes a hands-on approach with her clients; tackling messy sex scandals, planting stories, cleaning up puke, snorting coke, and tearing her own personal life apart in the process. She’s a hot mess, but there’s certainly nothing messy about her character. Emotional burnout is a real thing in “the biz” and we find Robyn right on the cusp of having her own world implode, while saving her clients from their own press nightmare infernos.
Each episode focuses on one of Robyn's clients, tackling hot-button topics like sexual harassment in the #MeToo era, transphobic comedians, closeted athletes, serial cheaters, and other media nightmares. Robyn’s deteriorating personal life exists as a subplot that runs through each episode, though her career crises rarely allow for inner reflection. Robyn may be a hot mess, but there’s certainly nothing messy about Flack.
Robyn isn’t alone in the PR nightmare, her partner-in-crime Eve (Lydia Wilson) and ever hopeful intern Melody (Rebecca Benson) are dragged into every crisis helping to create the perfect story. Their boss Caroline (Sophie Okonedo) could easily give The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly a run for her money, though she is tragically underutilized in the series. Caroline’s seems to exist to serve looks and provide the occasional tersely worded piece of advice.
While Robyn is a difficult character to like, she is keenly aware of her own inner sickness, even if it’s masked behind a carefully crafted exterior. Seriously, she makes so many personal mistakes in six short episodes. Sleeping with clients, cheating on her boyfriend, sleeping with her friend’s paramour, relapsing on cocaine, interfering with her sister’s marriage, and generally becoming her own personal trainwreck — you can actually feel sorry for her. Particularly in the final episode, when it becomes apparent that she doesn’t want her bright-eyed intern to lose her humanity like she has.
Flack may not be for everyone, but there’s something captivating about its nihilism that may just capture new audiences on Amazon Prime Video. So often series try to make their characters perfect and unflawed, it’s quite enjoyable to watch characters make terrible decisions and suffer from the consequences of their own actions.
If you’re wondering about the future of Flack rest assured that there will be a second season. It premiered early last year in the UK and will be coming to Amazon Prime Video soon enough. The first season of Flack premieres on January 21, 2021.