'Pacific Heat' Isn't So Hot
When it comes to Netflix Originals, the high expectations for quality are due to the success seen in series such as, “Jessica Jones,” “Daredevil,” “The Get Down,” “Stranger Things” and more. One of newest additions to Netflix, “Pacific Heat,” is an Australian animated sitcom created by Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner. The first season debuted on Dec. 2 and has been given mixed reviews by critics. The show originally aired on Australia’s Comedy Channel.
The producers of “Pacific Heat” are founders of Working Dog Productions, a film and television company based in Melbourne, Australia. They have worked on many projects, ranging from the talk show “The Panel,” to satirical comedy shows such as “Frontline” and “Utopia.” They have also produced films such as, “The Castle,” and a documentary called, “The Campaign,” which was written by Santo Cilauro himself based on the 1996 election. “Pacific Heat” is their newest project since 2014’s “Utopia,” and is the first animated sitcom for the company. Though the team has had a history with other successful projects, perhaps the dip into an animated sitcom was not the right move.
The show takes place in a city on the west coast of Australia and follows the undercover special unit, “Pacific Heat,” organized by the local police to assist in busting anyone from terrorists to thieves. The team is made up of special agents Todd Sommerville, Maddie Riggs, Veronica Delane and Agent Zac. Alongside them is their Chief, Cedric, and their tech-analyst, Kwong, who help them throughout their missions. The episodes consist of different missions with the same type of villains in each. Flashbacks occur to give the viewer a backstory of how each character got to be on the team.
Critics have claimed it as a rip-off of the FX show, “Archer.” Both series have the same concept of animation, similar storylines and humor, but “Pacific Heat” fails terribly. The “humor” is mostly racist jokes towards East Asian countries, specifically China, about either their culture or their broken English. At one point, the fourth wall is broken as they discuss subtitles. One-line quips between agents Veronica, Zac and Todd make an attempt to seem witty, but quickly becomes overplayed and more irritating with every episode.
“Pacific Heat” also has strong waves of sexism, and Agent Todd hits on a different woman in each episode. Agent Maddie is portrayed to be hung up on an ex throughout the first few episodes, where she discusses it among her fellow colleagues constantly. She is seen leaving numerous voicemails, despite the fact that her ex has proven that he has no interest in her, and suddenly is never mentioned again. There is no progression in the storyline to build up anticipation for the next season.
The series uses an alternative police television drama angle. In the first episode, the camera follows the team on a mission and gives the viewer a sense that they are actually along for the ride. Though they try to keep the suspense going, the predictability never fails.
Despite popular praise in Australia, the reactions have been quite the opposite in the U.S. The show has a rating of 27% on Metacritic and 4.7 on Rotten Tomatoes. Though there is potential for “Pacific Heat” to be the counterpart of “Archer,” the creators completely ignore it and stick with the same boring story. If you ever thought about giving “Pacific Heat” a chance, reconsider.