The Pentaverate Review (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
Mike Myers is back with yet another comedy hit in Netflix’s six-part series, The Pentaverate. The series takes its name from a secret society, which has five members at any one time. Usually these members are prominent public figures or experts in their field. Some notable former Pentaverate members include Colonel Sanders, Leonardo Da Vinci, Victor Hugo, William Wordsworth and Charles Darwin. Meanwhile singer and climate change activist, Billie Eilish, is listed as a future member of the more inclusive organisation, The Septaverate. The Pentaverate as a group have supposedly been influencing world affairs for good, since 1347 when they realised what was causing the Black Plague.
The plot follows Mike Myers in one of his roles as Ken Scarborough, a broadcast journalist from Canadian TV channel, CACA News. Ken is told that he’s about to lose his job, but implores his producer to give him one more chance to prove himself. Ken attends CanConCon (the Canadian Conspiracy Convention) with Reilly, a camerawoman from Caca News (played by Lydia West). At the convention, the usual conspiracy theories are discussed including the illuminati. But it’s here that Ken hears about the secret society known as The Pentaverate for the first time. With nothing to lose and everything to gain from a big news story, Ken and Lydia set out to uncover The Pentaverate, in the company of conspiracy superfan Anthony Lansdowne (also played by Mike Myers).
Meanwhile all is not well at Pentaverate HQ. When one of the five Pentaverate members is killed, a new member must be found. Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key) is the unfortunate person who is chosen, this time because he is on the brink of providing a solution to the climate crisis. But like the member he replaced, Clark winds up dead. Who could possibly want to kill someone who has a solution to the climate crisis?
In real life, Rolling Stone Magazine produced an article in January 2011 about the people who are blocking action on the climate crisis. At the top of the list was media mogul, Rupert Murdoch. The article states that, “No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than Murdoch.” Coming back to The Pentaverate, another character played by Mike Myers is Pentaverate member, Bruce Baldwin. According to a Netflix write-up, Bruce Baldwin is, “An Australian media magnate in the vein of Rupert Murdoch”. As it turns out, it was Baldwin who killed Dr. Hobart Clark, and his evil intentions don’t stop there, having sneaked in an ally, Skip Cho (played by Ken Jeong), to help further his plans which lead to The Meadows (a conference similar to the real-life Davos).
The series closes with the Pentaverate members making the ultimate sacrifice. Meanwhile good guy Ken Scarborough, has to make his own decision about whether to become the soul of the world’s most advanced AI supercomputer, Mentor.
Fans of the Austin Powers movies will be pleased to see Mike Myers back, playing multiple roles and bringing his unique brand of comedy to a wide audience on Netflix. Poking fun at conspiracy theorists, while highlighting important issues like the climate crisis, makes this an enjoyable and timely release. It does feel like Mike Myers back at his best and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, that we need during these trying times.
The Pentaverate and Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi)
Climate fiction or cli-fi as it’s better known, encompasses fiction that addresses the climate crisis. While much cli-fi has been dystopian, there are more shows and books coming out that are grounded in the present which show the problems we’re up against as well as the solutions available. A great example of such a book is The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, which was reviewed here.
In terms of films, one of the biggest recent cli-fi releases was Netflix’s Don’t Look Up, which featured a catastrophic meteor strike as an allegory for the climate crisis and gained global attention. However, there are not as many cli-fi films around as you might expect. That makes The Pentaverate a very welcome addition to the cli-fi cannon.
In the series, the climate crisis is presented for what it is – a threat to humanity. As such the members of The Pentaverate organisation wish to address the emergency with an expert in the field. This is how they identify Dr. Hobart Clark. With the help of Mentor, Clark is able to crack cold fusion and thereby come up with a solution for what is often called the greatest threat humanity has yet faced. In a nod to real life, the person who puts a stop to this happening is a media mogul, Bruce Baldwin, based on Rupert Murdoch. As mentioned previously, Rolling Stone Magazine has labelled Murdoch as the person who has done more to spread climate misinformation than any other.
The plot therefore mirrors the uphill struggle that climate scientists and climate communicators have faced in conveying the urgency of the crisis. To understand more about how the media has hampered climate action, George Monbiot has a great explainer video on Double Down News.
On a final note, the fact that The Pentaverate is a Mike Myers comedy, is a welcome relief from the usual dystopian and catastrophic cli-fi. While dystopian stories can be interesting, they can also be alienating which could potentially create apathy. Comedy or ‘laughtivism’ on the other hand provides a unique vehicle for addressing important matters, and can be more easily consumed. More cli-fi in all formats is needed. More digestible cli-fi is warmly appreciated.
The Pentaverate Series Info
When does The Pentaverate come out?
The Pentaverate was released on the 5th May 2022 on Netflix.
Who is in The Pentaverate?
Mike Myers is the main actor in The Pentaverate, playing no less than eight roles! Myers plays Ken Scarborough, Lord Lordington, Mishu Ivanov, Shep Gordon, Bruce Baldwin, Jason Eccleston, Anthony Lansdowne, and Rex Smith. Other Pentaverate cast members include:
- Debi Mazar – Patty Davis
- Gregory Hoyt – Mentor
- Jennifer Saunders – The Maester of Dubrovnik, Saester of Dubrovnik
- Jeremy Irons – himself
- Keegan-Michael Key – Hobart Clark
- Ken Jeong – Skip Cho
- Lydia West – Reilly Clayton
- Maria Menounos – herself
- Neill Mullarkey – Mustache Man
- Phill Martin – Sasquatch
- Richard McCabe – Exalted Pikeman Higgins
- Rob Lowe – himself
- Ryn Alleyne – Fimbra Manus
Who directed and wrote The Pentaverate?
Is there a trailer for The Pentaverate?
The trailer can be viewed on Netflix here.
Where you can you watch The Pentaverate?
The Pentaverate is available to watch on Netflix here.
What have the ratings been like for The Pentaverate?
At the time of writing, The Pentaverate has the following ratings:
- IMDB – 6.1/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 22%
Meanwhile 83% of Google users liked the show.
My new cli-fi children’s picture book is Nanook and the Melting Arctic. Nanook is a caring polar bear who lives in the Arctic. But when his igloo starts melting, Nanook must find a way to save his friends and his home. He knows that the people who can help are also those who’ve caused the problem and he must find a way to convince leaders to act on the climate crisis. You can purchase Nanook from Amazon’s global stores including Amazon UK and Amazon US.