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Nicholas Stoller, the director of Neighbors, reunites with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in Apple TV+ series Platonic, which is engaging and will surely be another popular streaming hit. In this must-watch romp, Stoller also brings along other notable actors he has worked with before including Luke Macfarlane and Guy Branum (from Bros). The result in essence is endearing like Will & Grace or a newer Romantic-comedy like When Harry Met Sally but it’s also a mind-bender.

In fact, the biggest star of Stoller’s film is middle-age as two old friends Sylvia and Will (played by Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) are all over town after being separated for not less than 15 years. The pair now enter their forties when everything changes greatly since they last bonded. Without dexterous showrunners or directors, this story can easily go flat.

Not so here. Francesca Delbanco came up with the idea for this show with Stoller. They dispensed with the will they/won’t they hook up trope that was prominent in When Harry Met Sally — thankfully at some point—and decided to take on more universal themes such as friendships, love relationships, midlife career reboots, and how people tend to distract themselves from managing their own lives when it all feels just too overwhelming—an ungodly mess. Fun. And in Platonic: fun it is.

Will and Sylvia are polar opposites in character terms. Their once strong friendship took a terrible turn when Sylvia was “honest” about Will’s relationship and ultimately marriage to a woman who she did not think matched him well enough after all; he ended up marrying her anyway. Presently Will is licking his wounds from his recent divorce while an Instagram post from one of his ex-wives lands on Sylvia’s feed making her decide to make contact again after various others have surfaced through the years. Their first meet-up should strike a universal chord. Time has fractured their once great connection and life, in this case, happened in its place where awkwardness now resides. Particularly obvious is the difference in their lifestyles.

Sylvia put her legal career on hold to raise a family with her husband Charlie (another awesome performance by Luke Macfarlane) who just became partner at his firm and his gay work buddy Stewart (Branum) keeps him grounded. Meanwhile, Sylvia hauls kids to school then back home and shares bonds with other frazzled moms. That’s a good thing but… it doesn’t feel right.

On the other hand, Will—mourning his divorce—is part-owner of a trendy brewery in LA together with his ex-brother-in-law. Besides having a clear vision for their latest late-night venture, he has to deal with his ever watchful bros who are always telling him what an awful job he is making of things. Then along comes Sylvia.

Some days after reconnecting, Sylvia drags along her friend to Will’s brewery launch while complaining that they could have been sipping fine wines at some nearby bar and arriving home before 10pm. Hello middle age right there! Of course that did not happen as the events of the night unfolded leading them unwillingly to connect deeply again even if they don’t like it or not like it as the case may be; they never really drifted apart because their conversations always freely flowed with no stoppers on them.Something is happening here’.

To be sure, Sylvia and Will, despite being at different stages of their lives and personal growth, do have one thing in common: an abrupt lack of purpose. Not too long ago was the time it took for the inner light to fade away. Somehow, their rekindled friendship is just what they need but don’t need. As they become more intertwined, a part of themselves gets lost in each other – which only means that they will spend less time facing the actual changes required within their own lives.

And this is how Stoller and Delbanco take this series into a new direction because these two have to face it all at some point no matter how hard it might be. This show kind of mirrors another Apple TV+ hit Shrinking where the main character has to confront his worst fears. Like that program Platonic does an excellent job stretching out from its core players to create a television world we like to visit every now and then.

Watching all of this unfold is so much fun. Byrne and Rogen are right on target. If you liked them in Neighbors or its sequel, you’ll enjoy them here even more as they go through something real especially when it goes overboard—never feeling too much like “over the top.” It’s authentic. These are fine actors who make us care about their characters.

What about the supporting cast? I’d love to see or know more about these guys though. Just enough screen time is given to them though; Macfarlane keeps impressing as both a leading man and a team member alike… As Charlie he takes what would otherwise be another routine breadwinner role and gives us a husband/father for whom there is room for change (even if he doesn’t quite understand how), mostly dealing with emotions surrounding Sylvia’s buddy-buddy relationship with Will once again taking over her life. Best line: “I know Will and Sylvia aren’t having sex but sometimes I wonder if they get off on the idea that they could.”

Guy Branum is a constant treat, and Tre Hale (Love and Monsters, Lethal Weapon) shines in his portrayal of Will’s drinking buddy/co-worker Andy. Subplots pop up here and there but it never feels heavy-handed for this show. A nice touch: The vivid glimpses of the L.A. scene — from its vibrant art and nightlife to its hipster culture.

Ultimately, Platonic has some well-crafted writing with inventive beats that you can’t ignore. And laugh at also. And with it too. It definitely gives you something to think about. Everything is there; life in all its chaotic grandeur. Fun times are had by all. This hilarious, touching piece is nothing but tragedy waiting to happen for everyone who dares to take a chance on it or let it slip through one’s fingers—it screams opportunities! Come on in; the water’s fine folks! It’s one of the best new shows of the season.

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