Last night on HBO, John Oliver went were a few other men have gone before: Hosting a late-night talk show that is based mostly on political humor. There were headlines, and interview, and some pieces designed to mock most of what was wrong with the world.
In many ways, it was basically like watching “The Daily Show” on a Sunday except with more swearing. There are some that may have been hoping for something more from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” but we were not in the end particular upset. John was very funny throughout the show, was an interesting interview, and crammed a great deal of material into a 30-minute run time. The entire story about pomegranate juice and labels on food products was pretty darn brilliant, and his weekly features feel like they are flexible enough to week to week.
If there was anything that Oliver lacked over the course of his show, it was the ability to at times find the space to really get personal with his audience. Why not inform us that this was his first show, or at least come across a little bit more accessible? There was a distance between him as a host and us a viewer that was palpable for the first episode of a late-night series. Typically in these situations the host wants to take you into their world and give you room and see what they are about. There really wasn’t anything of that variety here, and separating himself further from his “Daily Show” roots may end up being his biggest flaw. It’s not enough to sink the show, but it could keep it from being one of the best late-night series on TV. Grade: B.
HBO has given you the freedom now to check out the premiere episode over on their YouTube page, just in case you want an opportunity to get hooked on it now without even paying for their service.
What did you think about the premiere? Share your thoughts below, and sign up for our CarterMatt Newsletter today to get some further TV updates on all things we cover.