Donald Glover and Maya Erskine Shine in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

When it was first announced in 2021 that Amazon Prime would be reimagining the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith as a television series, I have to admit I was incredibly excited. I was further thrilled by the fact that the lead roles were going to Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, some of my favorite creatives right now. However, I was a little apprehensive when it was announced later in 2021 that Waller-Bridge had left the production due to “creative differences.” Sometimes ‘creative differences’ is used in the arts as a euphemism for disaster. Waller-Bridge was eventually replaced by (an excellent) Maya Erskine.

However, my doubts were misplaced. The 2024 series proves to be stylish, funny and — something the movie version wasn’t — well-written. The show keeps the name of the movie version, but apart from that, the plot is completely different, a total re-imagining. 

In the opening episode, John (Glover) and Jane (Erskine) are interviewed by a robot for their prospective new jobs. Things seem vaguely like the reality TV series “Married At First Sight” — where couples are paired up through an algorithm. The pair meet and engage in awkward co-worker talk, but begin to find a rhythm in their married life. Initially Jane makes it clear that all she desires is a platonic relationship. However, quite early into the series her mindset changes.

There are some great guest stars, including Alexander Skarsgard, Sharon Horgan and most memorably Sarah Paulson as the terrific and somewhat kooky spiritual couples therapist. She recounts a spiritual journey she had in the jungles of Costa Rica and proposed that John and Jane’s issues were down to their work, “a lot of this might be depression from looking at screens all day” (they told her they were software engineers.)

However, Glover and Erskine are truly the stars of the show. Glover provides a cheery intensity which bounces off Erskine’s sarcastic and deadpan portrayal of Jane. The comedic timing from Erskine and, to a lesser extent, Glover, is truly one of the best parts of the show.

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