Why mini? Because each episode is about 20 minutes long, so the whole first season can be easily watched in two and a half hours, with loo breaks.
“Staged” is a beautiful example of how, with relatively little effort and resources, it is possible to shoot a series in the middle of a pandemic without risking the actors’ and staff’s health, but at the same time to keep the viewer glued to the screen.
The idea: three actors decide to practice their acting skills in order to have a better chance of getting a part once all the viral restrictions and quarantines are over. So they arrange a series of Zoom sessions, in which they… rehearse.
Tennant plays the part of a guy who is constantly screwing things up and in every episode he is (often repeatedly) caught in bigger or smaller lies or exaggerations. Sheen plays a guy who is not entirely happy with his life and drinks a lot (trying to hide it from his wife, which usually doesn’t work out). Evans (who, by the way, is the producer and the brains behind the whole show) plays a loser who has a problem with his wife, so he “temporarily” stays with his sister, who in turn has a problem with her husband.
Apart from that, other fairly well-known actors, such as Simon Pegg, Samuel L. Jackson or Judi Dench (that’s just the tip of the iceberg!), cameo from time to time. Most of them play themselves. Family life runs in the background.
The above description seems a bit boring – but don’t be fooled. This is a real masterpiece of good humour, worth every minute from start to finish. The characters’ adventures revolve mainly around who likes/dislikes whom, who said what about whom, what worked out (or more often: what didn’t) for whom, and who forgot to turn off the Zoom/phone while saying things about whom. And the best of the best: all characters are authentic, and most of them are miserable. As we all know, misery is what sells best.
Oh, I forgot: the pandemic. Not once in the entire series does the subject of the pandemic come up! It’s the elephant in the room.
My personal rating after watching the first season: 11/10 – definitely worth it!
I am very curious about season two. I will try to find time to binge it soon.