Sextortion is both surprisingly good and wildly underwhelming at the same time, so whether it's worth the watch or not depends entirely what you're after.
If that's a gripping series, this ain't it. But if it's a light laugh and some meta Kiwi-cringe, this may just be the web series for you.
It has an excellent cast and a premise which, despite being played out, has comedic potential, but it feels like the creators were too timid in dipping their toe in the political dramedy waters to take it anywhere memorable.
The series has three major saving graces. The first is that there are only six episodes and each episode is only 15 to 20 minutes long; it's not asking for much of a time commitment. The second is that our election is right around the corner and it's surprisingly fun to imagine our politicians in these characters' shoes.
Most importantly though, is that it stars the internet's comedic sweetheart Tom Sainsbury, famed for his Paula Bennett sketches on Snapchat.
He's known for his funny political musings across social media, so to see him play a gormless, hyper-conservative politician isn't a major stretch for the imagination. What did come out of left-field is just how well he does it.
For those of us less familiar with Sainsbury's work in the comedy and live theatre world, we're only used to tongue-in-cheek impersonations and internet pandering (which is not an insult, just something we all do to our various "audiences") so to see Sainsbury fully flesh out a whole new character, down to his body language and mannerisms, is a welcome surprise.
The series follows Sainsbury as Darren Bellows, the leader of a super-religious conservative political party with a toe - they're polling at less than 1 per cent - in the election race.
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Things go wildly astray when Darren receives a threat to publicise a video in which he's seen with a sex worker who he's paid to portray his mother in various sexual acts. The price of discretion? To oust his reverend father from politics.
It's all very light-hearted and wilfully silly; Sextortion is not here to take itself seriously or play into the mystery/drama aspect which is a good thing because if it did it'd be a flop, but as it is, it's actually strangely endearing in that it's very "Kiwi".
Darren is the epitome of the repressed Kiwi stereotype - the overly polite, timid, prudish people-pleaser, and everything from his costume (note the checked shirt tucked below the belly into tan trousers) to his watery half-smile/half-grimace cements that.
There's also something delightfully Westside about Dominatrix Shona, despite her wildly stereotypical characterisation. Interestingly, Darren's wife Belinda suffers the same fate, reduced to a mousey housewife, but I think - much like Darren being a complete stereotype - this is kind of the point; to take these archetypes and throw them in an unlikely scenario to watch them squirm - or thrive.
The trouble is that the story simply isn't good enough to justify stereotypes and the flogging of dead horses. The stakes are low, the relationships are weak and the premise is tired.
There's nothing to keep me coming back week by week because whatever happens, it doesn't really matter. Which begs the question; is this it? Because if so, it seems a shameful missed opportunity.
It feels like the creators were testing the waters in this first season with the ability to go harder later, which is only a good idea if you've done enough to get that second chance.
Sextortion may not be a good series in that it simply doesn't offer much incentive to stay tuned, but it might be a good way to kill an hour or two once all the episodes are live - there are six in total.
What I do know is with this show, Tom Sainsbury has further cemented himself as one to watch in the comedy TV world and I'll keep watching, purely to see what else he's capable of in this arena and also because I suspect (see: hope, sincerely) he and the team have some tricks up their sleeves.