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The Big Door Prize Series: Funny and Light

One of the more philosophical series out there, The Big Door Prize wins you over immediately with their episode-specific animations which I think is really nice. This Apple TV Plus series is produced by David West Read, and Dana Goldberg and is a light-hearted take on living life to the fullest. Even if it takes a mysterious blue machine to spell it out on a card to do so.


The Big Door Prize Apple TV plus series poster

The Plot of The Big Door Prize Series


Chris O Dowd for some reason I feel, plays himself rather than the character he inhabits. It's not like I haven't seen him in other series and movies, I have - The IT Crowd, a cameo in Thor 2, and himself in TravelMan (Richard Ayoade).


Chris O Dowd riding a bike in The Big Door Prize

Moving on, the whole series is based on the Mac-Guffin Sci-Fi trope where a thingamabob or gizmo is at the heart of the story. In this case, the Mac-Guffin is the Morpho machine which reveals the potential of a person with just a couple of words. Think of it like the Zoltar Speaks machine in the Tom Hanks vehicle Big where the machine grants wishes.


The Morpho Machine in The Big Door Prize

The Morpho machine on the other hand is no genie, it just gives you a card with a few words. Anything else that happens in the person's life is due to the actions taken by that person based on the words in the card.


For example, if the card says "Software Engineer" then you will probably move to India and study to become an engineer.



The Cast


The cast is really good with some space available for character growth for every fictional person you see on the show. Crystal R. Fox delivers an amazing performance as the mother who always has to be the center of attention. The lovely Gabrielle Dennis plays Cass, the wife of a man who is likely in the middle of a midlife crisis.


Gabrielle Dennis and Crystal R. Fox playing Cass and her mother in The Big Door Prize

Djouliet Amara is a welcome breath of fresh air as Trina, the daughter of the midlife crisis. My man O Dowd plays Dusty the man with a nearly perfect life being plagued by boredom and other peccadillos.


Damon Gupton stands out as the father who always looks like he's about to break into a knowing warm smile. He does a good job as the soul of the funnily named town called Deerfield. My favorite of course is Patrick Kerr as Mr. Johnson the small-town grocer who lights up the screen with his weird comedic vibes.


Patrick Kerr as Mr. Johnson the small-town grocer in The Big Door Prize

Josh Segarra plays a very douchey Italian restaurant owner named Giorgio who looks like an off-brand Tony Stark. He plays the role so well that you actually believe he is the comedically unlikeable Italian in real life as well. It is funny how accurately Giorgio knows what Cartography means and its role in the current-day scenario, as he's shown to be shallow and generally not very intelligent.



The music is a large part of the series and I think I can hear the harp, accordion, and piano which creates a nice storytime feel. If I could describe the soundtrack in two words it would be optimistically wistful.


In one of the episodes, the Mayor of Deerfield sees an unusual deer for the first time in probably forever in the town leading her on to a path that inspires her to take action. It reminds me of this tale in the Ramayana about a golden deer that lured the God Sita away from Lord Rama.


The episodes of this series are mostly named after the cast of characters, covering their life's story and what role the morpho machine played in transforming it.


The last two episodes however are the exception when all this comes together (ish) as the series ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger.





Should You Watch It? Most Definitely!


This series is a nice little Aesop's Fable or Disney fairytale that you can watch with family and friends and feel good about life and love and all that jazz. Chris does a great job of being himself more than acting I would say and the rest of the cast do an admirable job of playing their characters.


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