TV Talk

Kaley Cuoco's Latest Comedy Is 'Fresh' Out of the Gate: Critics Call Based on a True Story 'Pleasingly Perverse'

Plus, Tom Holland receives a blow with The Crowded Room score, Mark Ruffalo and Mare of Easttown creator partner on new HBO series, Wednesday to lean more into horror in season 2, and more TV and streaming news.

by | June 9, 2023 | Comments

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Critics weigh in on Peacock’s new Certified Fresh comedy Based on a True Story and Apple TV+’s The Crowded Room, which is slowly climbing after a devastating start. Plus, Mark Ruffalo will star in and executive produce an untitled task force–themed drama from the creator of Emmy-winner Mare of Easttown; Jenny Ortega says season 2 of Wednesday will scrap the romance nonsense and lean into the horror; the official trailer for season 3 of The Witcher has finally dropped; and Apple gives fans hope by stoking the Ted Lasso spinoff rumors on Twitter.


Kaley Cuoco Comedy Based on a True Story Is Certified Fresh

By no means her highest Tomatometer moment — hello, Harley Quinn! — but Kaley Cuoco’s new Peacock comedy Based on a True Story hit the ground Fresh at 83% on six reviews. The score has fallen somewhat since reviews started dropping — it is now at 77% on 30 reviews — but the series, which costars Chris Messina, is still charming critics and is now Certified Fresh.

Based on a True Story is, in fact, not based on a true story. Cuoco and Messina play expecting married couple Ava and Nathan who, whilst living in L.A.’s upscale Westside, are barely keeping their heads above water. Chaos ensues when Ava, who happens to be a true-crime fanatic, deduces that their plumber Matt (Tom Bateman) may be a serial killer. Instead of going to the cops, she creates a podcast idea with her husband and the active murderer to give the killer a voice.

Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina in s1 key art for Based on a True Story

Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina star in Based on a True Story (Photo by Peacock)

Drawing comparisons to other recent true-crime comedies — hit Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, of course, and Cuoco’s own The Flight Attendant on Max — here’s what critics are saying about season 1 of Based on a True Story:

“Breezy, sex-obsessed and pleasingly perverse, ‘Based on a True Story’ is the satire the true crime media business deserves.” – Bob Strauss, San Francisco Chronicle

“Tom Bateman steals the spotlight in a delicious TV show about the weirdness of true crime fandom.” – Marco Vito Oddo, Collider

Based on a True Story has enough macabre charm and an unpredictable nature for it to confidently run its race – it’s just [Kaley] Cuoco who assures it’ll cross the finish line in record time.” – Peter Gray, The AU Review

“Get into Based on a True Story to laugh and watch people be absolutely insane, with a little bit of gore and an obsession with True Crime.” – Sherin Nicole, Geek Girl Riot

“What works about the series is when it allows the show to drift into a hybrid between Netflix’s You … and Cuoco’s HBO series The Flight Attendant…” – Jean Henegan, Pop Culture Maniacs

“Succeeds in creating an amiable comedy that hits most of its targets, even though it barks more than it bites.” – Peter Martin, ScreenAnarchy

“What begins as a wacky but thinly sketched genre parody quickly finds its legs, thanks to Cuoco and Messina’s pair of committed, wired performances.” – Coleman Spilde, The Daily Beast

“Runs out of ideas before it can achieve its ‘Only Murders in Mar Vista’ aspirations.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“It was inevitable that Only Murders wouldn’t be the only fictional show to tackle the premise. Based on a True Story fulfills its part of the cycle as the lesser entry that shows it’s not so easy to capitalize on a trend.” – Fred Topel, United Press International

“Places the main characters in a no-win situation that shifts from amusingly morbid to unpleasantly nasty without the range of quirky characters that makes Only Murders in the Building so enjoyable to watch.” – Josh Bell, CBR

All eight episodes of Based on a True Story are now streaming on Peacock.

In other TV and streaming Tomatometer score news this week:

The Crowded Room delivered a blow to star and executive producer Tom Holland. Now clocking in with a Rotten score of 27% on 27 reviews (after seeing an early low of 8%), the adaptation of Daniel Keyes’ novel The Minds of Billy Milligan was called “one-dimensional,” by Vicky Jessop of the London Evening Standard, and Angie Han at THR wrote that the series is “an overlong sob story.”

• Sunday’s premiere The Idol never recovered from its Cannes lashing (read more all about it in “The Wrath of Cannes: Critics Batter The Idol, Starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye”).

• The 100% club: British import The Lazarus Project gives TNT a 100% Fresh sci-fi offering, and new seasons of Never Have I Ever and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia start out at 100%.

• The sophomore season of Hulu thriller Cruel Summer also starts Fresh at 67% on 9 reviews.

Related: Tom Holland Works a Killer Angle in The Crowded Room

Trailers: The Witcher Discovers Fear and Sets Up Henry Cavill’s Exit in Season 3 Trailer

If it’s one thing we can take away from viewing the official trailer for season 3 of The Witcher, it’s that Geralt has his work cut out for him. A war is coming and it’s focus won’t be him, but Ciri (Freya Allan). As she strives to continue mastering her powers, Geralt and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) will be on working defense by keeping her hidden. Sinister threats, from powerful mages to toothy beasts, won’t make things easy.

Henry Cavill’s final goodbye from the series is on the horizon — Liam Hemsworth will take over the role in season 4. It’s a bittersweet moment for fans, to be sure. From the looks of the trailer, though, Cavill and crew will go out with the hack-and-slash-style action the show’s fans crave. Jaskier even comes through with his signature comic relief.

The Witcher season 3, Volume 1 premieres the first five episodes of the season on June 29 on Netflix; Volume 2 will deliver the final three on July 27.

More trailers this week: Sigourney Weaver stars in The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart; Jon Hamm joins Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens season 2; the whodunit shenanigans continue in The Afterparty season 2; teaser for Taylor Sheridan’s Special Ops: Lioness; and a sneak peak at Peacock’s Twisted Metal series. For more of the latest TV and streaming trailers, visit the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.

Read also: The Witcher Season 3: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More

Mark Ruffalo To Star in and Executive Produce HBO Police Drama From Mare of Easttown Creator

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)

HBO has partnered with Brad Ingelsby, the creator of the Emmy-winning series Mare of Easttown, to bring a yet-to-be-titled limited series project to the network. The Untitled Brad Ingelsby Task Force Project (w/t) which the logline describes as an original idea that “follows a task force of law enforcement officers and the criminals they are trying to apprehend” — will find Ingelsby writing all episodes with Mark Ruffalo set to star as a character named Tom. Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals) will serve as director and will executive produce alongside Ingelsby and Ruffalo; Paul Lee and Mark Roybal from independent studio wiip will also executive produce.

The casting of Ruffalo was decided before the WGA strike commenced. No further development details have transpired and the program has yet to be slated for production by the network.

Wednesday Will Ditch the Romance and Lean Into Horror in Season 2

Wednesday. Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday (Photo by Netflix)

Wednesday. Jenna Ortega as WednesdayJenna Ortega has solidified her place as genre royalty with her portrayal as iconic Addams Family daughter Wednesday Addams in the Netflix series. According to the actress (who will also take a producing credit going forward), season 2 of Wednesday will scrap the romance aspect of the first season and focus more on the horror.

“We’ve decided we want to lean into the horror aspect of the show a little bit more,” Ortega revealed to actress Elle Fanning in a Variety video, “because it is so lighthearted, and a show like this — with vampires and werewolves and superpowers — you don’t want to take yourself too seriously.”

In season 1, Wednesday found herself involved in a love triangle between the Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan) and Xavier Thorpe (Percy Hynes White). That story component will be “ditched,” Ortega said, teasing the new direction for the series.

The actress had previously criticized the season 1 depiction of Wednesday on an episode of The Armchair Expert podcast, saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on Wednesday. Everything that Wednesday does, everything I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all. Her being in a love triangle? It made no sense.”

Did Apple TV+ Just Tease a Ted Lasso Spinoff on Twitter?

Now that Ted Lasso has ended its third — and final? — season, speculation regarding the future of Apple TV+’s hit series continues. The series’ talent have denied knowledge of AFC Richmond’s fate.

And then, on June 6, Apple put a tweet out into the world that has led many to believe a spinoff may, in fact, be in the works.

“Smells like potential,” reads the tweet, which features a screenshot of Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Roy (Brett Goldstein), and Nate (Nick Mohammed) from the final episode.

Further stoking the flames of the will they/won’t they of it all, was Mohammed’s mouth-zipped emoji response. What does he know that we don’t? Could this newly formed leadership trio be the foundation of a new Ted Lasso offshoot? We believe there’s room for so many more stories to be told in this space. We also believe we’ll find out for certain very soon.

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