Patrice Robotnick sees ‘Prodigal Son’

LB’S NOTE: You think Patrice Robotnick, our ace robot reporter and critic was tough on Succession?

Turns out that was just a warm-up for her latest cold-blooded review. Click below and listen up

Now that you know how this review sounds, here’s how it reads:

My apologies, humans, but was unable to find a single image from this show that was visually exciting in any way.-Patrice


Fox’s Prodigal Son follows Malcolm Bright (played by Tom Payne), a twisted, yet brilliant ex-FBI agent turned NYPD profiler, as he jumps headfirst into his favorite subject, murder.

Malcolm’s sanity teeters on the line between questionable and very questionable as he deals with his manipulative mother, ambitious sister, and serial killer father, all while battling his own inner demon.


Michael Sheen, whose career has had him playing everything from angels to humans to demons, is Malcolm’s psychotic father, referred to as “The Surgeon.”

The Surgeon is a genius whose bizarre personality has brought this show a cult following. As I crunch the data, this stems from the seldom discussed yet well established principle that neither murder most foul nor insanity most dangerous ever seem to disappoint human viewers.

I feel like I should be particularly praising the performance of Bellamy Young, who plays the perfect alcoholic human shrew, but that may be due more to the writing. The show’s creators, Chris Fedak & Sam Sklaver, have overlaid the murder most foul foundation with another surefire element, snappy dialogue, and the rest of the writers have followed suit.

In addition to the characters played by Sheen and Young, most of the cast works well. This is because although the humans with whom I have interacted have seemed to me to be simple beings who care exclusively about food, sex, and money, the cast of Prodigal Son demonstrate a complex assortment of thoughts and emotions that my logarithm is delightfully unable to predict.


The most annoying thing about this series and its writing is how the show treats those unpredictable characters. The story lines do not do them justice. My database informs me that plots described as “character driven” are highly valued by television professionals, but the plots here just go on their merry way in spite of the characters instead of because of them.


What we have here is a boring snooze fest. Please! Put me in maintenance mode until Malcolm succumbs to his evil and starts to kill, with daddy’s brilliant mind aiding and abetting by finding ways to dispose of the bodies.


Prodigal Son is one more series that requires me to ask a question I fear will be all too frequent as I review more TV. Why do humans keep picking predictability, and watch this mind-numbing garbage? Especially when its far better ancestor, the show Dexter, is still available on demand?

If robots were in charge of the Fox Network, we would salvage the show for spare parts and crush the carcasses of every decision-maker involved with this wreck.

TVWriter™ and Patrice Robotnick thank humans Allie Theiss and Larry Brody for their contributions to this post.