TV Review: ‘Inside Job,’ Netflix’s Latest Missed Opportunity


Poster courtesy of Netflix Animations

Netflix’s latest animated series, Inside Job, feels like a show precision-engineered just for me. The people behind the show would almost certainly have been the type I would have chosen, with the series created by Shion Takeuchi, writer for a host of highly acclaimed animated series such as Gravity Falls and Regular Show, along with the support of the creator of the former show, Alex Hirsch.

The premise is absolutely the kind of thing I would be into, as the show follows a scientist working for a shadowy organization controlling the world through a variety of conspiracy theories and other work.

And despite the premise seeming like it would go in the direction of a serious drama, the show is much closer to animated series like Archer, as a workplace comedy set in a much higher stakes background, which is one of my favorite styles.

Even the voice cast seems absolutely perfect, with a solid performance from Lizzy Caplan in the lead role, and voice acting all-stars like John Dimaggio—in the same voice and character of Fry’s dad in Futurama—fill the supporting cast, all also giving good performances across the board.

But at the same time, as the show went on, I found myself getting more and more friendly with the fast-forward button. It’s not that the show became bad, or jumped the shark, or one of a million terms for getting worse halfway through, but rather that it just failed to reach the potential of what it could have been fully.

Still, there are moments of comedic brilliance. In the second episode, the organization’s leader takes over an island from a Bond-esque supervillain and then picks up the phone and calls a friend named Alan about his exciting new island opportunity.

However, this presumed one-off reference to Alan Dershowitz, lawyer and longtime friend of Jeffery Epstein, and his role in the real-life Epstein conspiracy seems to be just as far as the showrunners are willing to push it with more contemporary conspiracy theories. This one line takes a susceptible subject to make light of and still manages to hit just the right amount of nonchalant absurdity to make for perhaps my favorite joke of the show. But just as soon as it came, Inside Job returned safely to its comfort zone of whatever you would come up with after a weekend spent alternating watching The X-Files and Rick and Morty

I think ultimately this is a matter of the showrunners erring too far on the side of caution, though, as while the fairly silly tone of the show would make focusing entirely on darker material like this incongruent with the series as a whole, the unwillingness to riff on anything besides Roswell aliens and 80s movies feels lazy at best, and a real missed opportunity at worst.

Ultimately, if you want another competently put-together animated series that is the incarnation of the word “watchable,” then you’ll be just fine. But if you were sold by the premise of a black comedy about the mundanity of world domination, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.