If you loved the improv comedy madness of Netflix’s Murderville or just adore a great sitcom, you need to watch Jury Duty, and luckily it won’t cost you anything. Available on Amazon’s Freevee streaming service (with limited ads) you don’t even need a Prime subscription (or any of the best streaming services) to enjoy this courtroom comedy with a twist.
At first glance, Jury Duty may seem like a fairly standard sitcom based in a courtroom, but there’s a reason for the 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The show’s protagonist, 30-year-old Ronald Gladden, believes he is on the jury of a real trial. Everyone else, the judge, the jury, the prosecution and the defence is an actor in on the joke. Most are character actors putting in a stellar shift, but Hollywood star James Marsden plays a major supporting role as a member of the jury. Marsden, who you’ll recognize from The Notebook and Sonic (as he’ll remind you) is amazing as an egotistical and insecure parody of himself as things develop into a cheese-before-bed scale legal nightmare.
It may sound like the setup for a prank show but this is far larger than that. The series follows the sequestered jury, in the courtroom, their hotel and beyond as they try to solve a case of workplace negligence. If you think it sounds like a cruel joke to play on Ronald then don’t worry. The whole process works as a way for Ronald’s integrity, humility and compassion to shine through. Faced with some unbelievable and outrageous circumstances he consistently does ‘the right thing’ and not only does he leave the show with a host of friends, but a newfound confidence too.
Ronald is someone we can all aspire to be but for entertainment value as well Jury Duty is felony-level funny. Marsden in particular is game for some unspeakable things but the rest of the jury has the perfect ingredients for a som. Special shoutout to Todd, an eccentric geek who tries to wear “Chair pants” into a serious trial.
I can honestly say that I’ve never watched anything like Jury Duty and with the final episode detailing exactly how exhaustive the creative process was (there are hundreds of hours of unused footage and script) we may never see anything like it again.