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Mike Myers Explains Why He Shifted Away From Comedy Movies To Make Netflix's The Pentaverate, And Why It's Been A 'Very Fantastic' Experience 

Some spoilers below for those who haven’t yet watched Netflix’s The Pentaverate, so be warned!

For the first time since 2008’s The Love Guru, former Saturday Night Live star Mike Myers is at the center of his own scripted universe for Netflix’s absurdly delightful (and similarly polarizing) comedy The Pentaverate. It was quite the shock when the six-episode series’ existence was first revealed back in 2019, not only for being a spinoff of the Myers-starring 1993 feature So I Married an Axe Murderer, but also for being the actor/writer/producer’s first full-on narrative project for the small screen. Not to mention The Pentaverate is his initial foray into streaming-only territories. And when speaking to CinemaBlend, Myers and series director Tim Kirkby made the experience sound positive enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if another TV project was already being cooked up.

The Pentaverate is a far-flinging tale of passionate local journalists, a secret cabal of geniuses, the power of conspiracy theories, and Maria Menounos. Its vast array of wild and wacky (and often perverse AF) sequences wouldn’t have all fit within the runtime of a traditional theatrical feature, and not all TV and streaming platforms would have allowed safe passage to everything Mike Myers and Tim Kirkby put into the ethers. As such, I asked Myers about working with Netflix on something with the longevity of a TV series, particularly a project featuring a scene that introduces a faux Netflix exec into the show itself during an uproariously over-the-top pool hall exchange in Episode 2. Here’s how Myers bemusedly began his response (as also seen in the video above):

You know, I call it Streaming-Wood. I don't know if I made it up, but we're in Streaming-Wood now, which is fantastic. And there's a certain looseness of this form that I wanted to take advantage of. I am somebody that binge-watches things, so we both wanted to be the purveyors of the bingeable arts, as you would. But comedy movies became a little [stern voice] 'This is the universe,' you know what I mean? I wanted it to be like a British limited series, where it has a conclusion, and we know how many [episodes] it is, and here it is, it's a complete thought. That was one thing. But being able to break the fourth wall is something that is a new thing from streaming comedies. That we say to the audience, 'We're aware of our past, the past, other movies' pasts. We know you know we know you know.' So that's one of the very liberating things.

While there have certainly been meta, wall-breaking moments in Netflix series before, it’s hard to think of a show that delivers them with the frequency and variation of The Pentaverate. From the hilariously broad Key & Peele nod in the premiere to Jeremy Irons’ narrator introducing Stranger Things to the marked difference between “fuzzy” Canadian TV and the crisp HD-ness of the U.S., the show pokes lots of post-modern fun while still upholding this universe’s baffling reality. Which should be impossible for anything that includes a character like Myers’ van-living Anthony Landsdowne, but here we are.

Speaking to those elements and more — maybe I’m talking about Anthony’s dolphin queef question, and maybe I’m not — Mike Myers championed Netflix for essentially granting him and The Pentaverate’s team a creative greenlight as soon as he laid out what he wanted to do. In his words:

But my experience with Netflix was, you know, I've been obsessed with secret societies my whole life, I had this idea, I came to them and I said, 'What if five people around the world, what if they were nice, and what if I played all five people?' And Netflix said, 'Okay, yes.' That's been our experience is that Netflix has just been Yes People, and they've gotten behind us. And it's been a very, very fantastic experience.

Director Tim Kirkby, whose work on The Pentaverate is aces throughout, has helmed episodes of brilliant, bizarre, and envelope-pushing series such as Veep, Look Around You, Man Seeking Woman, Brockmire, and Fleabag. And he also praised Netflix and its execs for approaching the show with arms and minds wide open, saying:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, you have to be open; you have to be. And with Mike's ideas, it's a very open company. They want to encourage creative ideas. And again, you have to find your place, and you have to find your people. So it was a very good relationship because it was open, and it has to be. It had to be. Because if you fight that. If you interrogate or say, 'Oh, shut it down,' then it puts a kind of bad taste.

To that end, Mike Myers followed up in kind, drawing attention to how important it is within the comedy world to allow jokes and moments to build and grow from early on, as opposed to stepping in immediately with the ever-loathed concept of “studio notes.” Can you imagine how quickly other studios would have squashed the idea of a scene in which one of Myers’ characters meets Shrek, as voiced by Myers himself? (With apologies to his Shrek-averting children.) He continued:

But also, we don't know what's gonna work and what's not gonna work, so you just don't want to kill an idea in the crib. You know, you want to go, 'No, don't kill it yet. Let's see.' And it will die on its own or it will thrive on its own. It doesn't necessarily need somebody early in the process to be Doctor No.

Gotta love an overly literal use of a James Bond villain’s name from the man who gave the world Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. And who reprised Dr. Evil earlier this year for a Super Bowl commercial that also featured The Pentaverate’s memory-hindered explainer-person Rob Lowe.

Could Mike Myers follow up on The Pentaverate with another Austin Powers spoof, potentially co-starring his super-fan Ken Jeong, or perhaps a long-form return to Wayne’s World’s central duo? Only the Canadian treasure himself can answer that one, but those with Netflix subscriptions can spend the meantime streaming all six episodes of the twisting and turning series. 

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.