‘Wayne’ Successfully Balances the Heartfelt and the Visceral (TV Review)

How does one describe this series currently found on Amazon Prime? It is certainly a menagerie of emotions that effectively collide and mingle in the ten-episode run of season one. Originating from YouTube and then being picked up by Prime, the show was created by Shawn Simmons, known for his writing credits on smaller productions such as the School of Rock series and the 2018 film Now We’re Talking. As 2019 rolled around, Simmons got the chance he was looking for in this series he passionately pitched to YouTube not all that long ago.

What is the premise of this show simply titled Wayne, you may ask? Prime describes it as “a 16-year old Dirty Harry with a heart of gold, sets out on a small two stroke road bike from Boston to Florida with his new friend Del to get back the sh*t-hot ’79 Trans-Am that was stolen from his father before he died.” The first ten minutes came across as what looked to be a rather bizarre show where the series’ star, Wayne, played by Mark McKenna (Sing Street), proceeds to get pummeled by a local Brockton, MA resident, who is a bit on the livid side with Wayne’s recent actions.

It’s inaccurate to say from there the show finds its way. The truth is, this show knows exactly what it is from its onset. It knows exactly where it is going and how it deliberately opens up its characters emotionally over the ten half-hour episodes. It is comedic, brutally violent and over the top, all the while adding in a good mix of that coming-of-age genre. Despite the stoic demeanor of Wayne, McKenna puts forth a good performance amidst all of this, which succeeds at subtly revealing the anger and sadness always bubbling just below his character’s surface. His friend in tow, Del, played by Ciara Bravo (Cherry), can often be found stealing scenes with her exceptional portrayal throughout as she battles her own demons and flees from her past.

While Wayne has yet to be picked up for a second season on Prime, it is a relief to note that it also hasn’t been denied this opportunity. Simmons stated in an interview with inverse.com that he already has the story in his head for a second and third season should the fates allow it to continue. He described season one as John Wick with season two being The Unforgiven and season three being more along the lines of Jack Reacher (provided two and three get the green light). Here’s hoping fans of Wayne get their wish because this is one production that is far too good to let fade away.

Amazon, if you’re listening, make it happen.


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