5. It’s about a cult – sort of
You could describe Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as a cult comedy. Not because it has a loyal, underground following – it hasn’t even aired yet – but because it’s about a girl who flees a doomsday cult after 15 years and struggles to integrate into normal life.
We all share a fascination with cults. From Charles Manson to Scientology, there’s something intriguing and bizarre about the inner workings of secretive communities. Stories from escapees often hit the headlines because they detail the strange, sometimes horrific behaviour involved in a lifestyle that’s fiercely protected from outsiders. It’s an existence almost beyond the realm of our understanding.
We’ll have to wait and see if the subject can be mined for comedy gold, but an original angle on cults will certainly pique the public’s interest.
4. Great supporting cast
Unbreakable boasts a fantastic cast. With Tina Fey in charge, old hands from her previous hit 30 Rock have joined the new show.
Jane Krakowski plays the rich, demanding mother who employs Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) as a nanny. Krakowski is a Golden Globe-nominated, Tony Award-winning actress, and she’s a perfect match for this role.
Tituss Burgess is another 30 Rock favourite. A talented singer in real life, he’s cast as an out-of-work musician who makes ends meet by dressing up as a robot in Times Square. His character befriends Kimmy, and their relationship is a cornerstone of the show.
3. It’s a Netflix original
The online network is fast becoming a TV hit factory. Original series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have won praise from critics and attracted huge audiences, allowing the company to compete with the big boys in the market.
Netflix actually nabbed Unbreakable from NBC by offering Tina Fey a two-season deal from the get-go. The fact that they’ve shown so much confidence in the project can only be a good sign. And if you like the show, you can look forward to a second series that’s been commissioned before the first has even premiered, which is almost unheard of.
Don’t forget that Netflix will release all the episodes in one go this Friday – perfect for a weekend TV binge.
2. Tina Fey can do no wrong
The comedienne cut her teeth on Saturday Night Live – her Sarah Palin impression was a fan favourite – before writing and starring in 30 Rock, the show that really launched her into the public eye.
Fey has since co-hosted the Golden Globes twice with Parks and Recreation’s Amy Poehler, and has won numerous awards for her writing and acting, including an Emmy for her autobiography, Bossypants.
Basically, if Fey’s involved, take notice. Judging by recent interviews, she’s very proud of Unbreakable, and that’s reason enough to give the comedy a chance.
1. Ellie Kemper makes a perfect Kimmy
Ellie Kemper is probably best known for playing receptionist Erin Hannon in The US Office, but she’s also had supporting roles in The Mindy Project, 21 Jump Street and Bridesmaids. Kimmy Schmidt is her first lead part in a comedy series, but she certainly has the CV to handle it.
Kemper’s character in The US Office was kind-hearted but incredibly gullible – a sweet-natured foil to Steve Carrell’s egomaniacal boss. So if anyone has the attributes to play a naive, brainwashed cult escapee, it’s her.
You can catch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix this Friday, March 6. Here’s a sneak peek: