The fear with any adaptation of classic material like the video games Twisted Metal is that they stray too far away from what makes them special. What is the one thing that makes all of us that played the games in dorm rooms, cousin’s houses, Toys R’ Us demo kiosks, and other nostalgic places special?

Cars blowing up other cars.

There’s more to it than that, but at the heart of it, Twisted Metal is that. It’s car combat mixed with some crazy characters like Sweet Tooth. So when we all heard that Peacock was making the games into a streaming series, that excitement flared up. There is a pretty stacked cast behind the series. Anthony Mackie, Stephanie Beatriz, Will Arnett, Thomas Haden Church, Samoa Joe, Richard Cabral, and Neve Campbell all star in the series. It comes from creator Michael Jonathan Smith and has 10 episodes.

An Incredibly Simple Premise

TWISTED METAL — “DRVTHRU” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Mackie as John Doe, Stephanie Beatriz as Quiet — (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)

In a world where we get shorter and shorter seasons, Twisted Metal gets to stretch out with that 10-episode format. The premise here is incredibly simple. Here’s the official synopsis from Peacock.

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, John Doe (Mackie), a talkative milkman with amnesia, is given a mission to traverse the desolate world to deliver a cryptic package in order to stay alive. Alongside the assistance of Quiet (Beatriz), a rash car thief, Doe faces a life-altering opportunity but must confront ruthless marauders in deadly and destructive vehicles to secure a chance at a better future.

It’s set in a world where we didn’t really evolve past the ’90s. Almost all electronics, including the internet, were wiped out, and cities were left on their own to survive. Some, like San Francisco, are flourishing under their new leader (Campbell). Outside the walls of cities, though, there are bandits, gangs, and other unsavory characters trying to survive with more violent tactics.

John Doe gets an offer from Raven (Campbell) to go to Chicago to pick something up and come back with it before the supplies expire. In return, Doe can leave his life of being “The Milkman” behind and live in the cushy walls of San Francisco.

That’s really it. It’s ingenious and gets the series going right away.

’90s Vibes And Snappy Humor Pervade

TWISTED METAL — “3RNCRCS” Episode 102 — Pictured: Joe Seanoa as Sweet Tooth — (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)

The only thing that might derail Twisted Metal a bit is that 10-episode format. At points, it feels like it drags on a bit too much. Some of the characters we meet along the way aren’t as memorable as Sweet Tooth. (Who gets some excellent work from Will Arnett as the voice, and Samoa Joe as the body). Finally, some of the visual effects on the cars in particular, do end up looking a bit too shiny and take away from the experience. That’s not to say the CG is bad, but it just ends up standing out too much because of the shine.

Twisted Metal is firmly rooted in the ’90s, just like the video games. From the fashion, music, themes, and humor, it feels all very ’90s. Right from the opening scene, Twisted Metal shows you exactly what it is, and what it isn’t. It’s not high-brow television. This isn’t prestige TV. It’s a show about cars exploding and clowns; so many musclebound clowns. Mackie gives off a performance that just oozes charm and fun. He and everyone else on this show know what they signed up for. They execute these humorous and almost silly scenes with plenty of energy.

Twisted Metal sets out to give us a slice of car combat on the screen. It does that and then some with humor, explosions, and more.

Twisted Metal premieres on Peacock with all 10 episodes on July 27th, 2023.

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