April 22, 2024

Up Here Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Up Here
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Up Here Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

There is nothing quite like a good musical. Seeing characters break out in song and dance, casting off whatever it is they were doing to express their deepest emotions, can be joyous. There is some of that in Hulu’s Up Here, the sporadically charming musical rom-com. Much of this charm comes from leads Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdes who each give winning performances as characters trying to find their way in the bustling world of 1999’s New York. What holds the series back from being as vibrant as it could have been is a standard story that drags down its flourishes into something far more banal. It ends up falling into being a coming-of-age narrative of sorts about what it takes to achieve happiness, increasingly losing sight of its greatest strengths along the way. There is a sweetness to be found over the course of Up Here’s eight episodes, but it soon starts to lose itself in cycles of narrative contrivances. As the characters go around and around, the emotional heart starts to get lost in the shuffle.

Central to this is that there is quite a lot going on in the minds of Lindsay (Whitman) and Miguel (Valdez) as they each try to figure out what it is they want in their lives. Specifically, each has voices that speak to them. This isn’t an abstract device where we just hear them, but real people from their lives who we will see them talking to. No one else can see them, but they will frequently interject into the scenes to offer humorous observations. This is first introduced when we see Lindsay planning to leave behind her sleepy life in Vermont to go to the Big Apple in order to make it as a writer. They represent her anxieties, hopes, and passions. It is a fun enough gimmick, especially when it is revealed that Miguel also has voices of his own bouncing around in his head, but it can’t carry the series through its many more conventional elements. There just isn’t enough of a spark to keep things moving with sufficient momentum to get to the moments where Whitman and Valdez shine. Surprisingly, there are extended stretches where Up Here almost seems to forget that it was a musical in the first place.

Obviously, not all musicals need to be constantly dominated by song and dance. There can be plenty of scenes played more straight that are woven throughout. The problem is that Up Here is not particularly good at striking a balance between the two. Where the initial episodes had the more energetic and well-choreographed sequences, the latter group starts to feel far more generic in how they are assembled. One, in particular, plays out like an obligatory inclusion rather than an integral component of the experience, in a white space that feels far too confined. Even one built around the gag of a video game getting crossed with drugs is too scattered and static in its staging to be nearly as fun as it was meant to be. This is also where the actual lyrics of the songs can become repeating the same phrases over and over, a repetition meant to serve as a punchline that wears thin. Up Here isn’t ever as dynamic as it is when it starts out, making it feel as though it is running out of ideas rather than building to something more.

Some of this comes down to how the series is more interested in exploring the story of Lindsay and Miguel via more conversational scenes. That could very much be engaging on its own; some of the best romantic comedies out there can be built around two people just spending time together. The issue is that everything feels too neat and by the numbers, never kicking off its shoes for long enough to really find a rhythm. When we aren’t immersed in the musical sequences, there is a lot less to actually get drawn in by. There are a couple of time jumps, and some occasional changes of scenery, but everything feels rather narrow in its ambitions. Up Here tries to cover this up with hints of absurdity, mostly conveyed by the voices in the characters’ heads, but that isn’t enough to give it the boost it needed to become something more.

Late revelations and conflicts feel forced, leaving an impression that there is little that the series is actually building towards. When Lindsay remarks about how she doesn’t know how to end the book that she is writing, it is a way for the series to wink at the audience ever so slightly, but it can’t make up for the show’s own stalling. Even when Up Here upends itself at the end of each episode, the next will often just undo whatever seemingly significant development occurred to get back to business as usual. The show isn’t without some brief moments of fun sprinkled throughout, but it is burdened by a sense of uncertainty it is never able to unearth itself from.

By the time the season wraps up, there is little that stands out besides the leading duo of Whitman and Valdes. You buy into their characters’ passion, and there is one closing musical number that feels like a breath of fresh air in their hands. There isn’t anything particularly big or exciting about it in the way one would have hoped for a final hurrah. However, after some of the more meandering musical numbers before it, at least it offers something a little more emotionally engaging. It just is a shame that it lost its way long before we were able to get there. Perhaps there could be a future for these two characters that capitalizes on the talented performers playing them, especially as the series ends on a rather significant cliffhanger clearly hinting at more, but the story just feels stuck in neutral the longer you sit with it. There are certainly worse shows out there, but Up Here never rises to the heights it needed to.

Up Here Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online