1670’s anachronistic comedy is fairly wonderful, but it never quite reaches the level of What We Do In The Shadows, nor does it truly embrace its own idea and characters like Plebs. Instead, we get a show that feels like a one-note joke repeated over the course of eight episodes. It lands fairly effectively at moments and subverts expectations. Sometimes it truly doesn’t, and those instances can be difficult to go through.
The show is set in 1670, and we follow fourth-wall-breaking Jan Adamczewski and his eccentric family as they struggle to make a livelihood in a small village. Jan’s duty is made more difficult by his arch-nemesis Andrzej, who lives as a nobleman. The two butt heads are constantly butting heads throughout the season, until a major plot twist brings them together for the season finale in spectacular way.
We also discover more about Jan’s family members along the road. Aniela, an outspoken activist, works for climate change, equality, and everything in between. She is also caught in the heart of a family quarrel. Jan and his wife Zofia, you see, don’t always agree. On any subject.
Finally, Jakub, who feuds with his sister and, in one episode, plots to undermine his sister in order to take over the inheritance plot for himself, completes the family. Each episode functions as a bottle narrative while also furthering the family feud and the conflict between Andrjez and Jan.
It’s all rather straightforward, but the programme does its best to keep things interesting. In episode 2, there’s a fairly humorous sequence involving the village alcoholic Jedrula, which has a nice little pay-off at the end. Similarly, the anachronistic combining of old and contemporary values into one humour is arguably the highlight of this show, however as previously stated, there isn’t enough variation to feel like it pulls it off as effectively as it could.
Early on, there’s a joke that suggests the show would focus heavily on dark, cruel comedy to remark on and mock the ideals prevailing in 1670. Instead, the earlier remark about the show being self-aware comes up again and again, with jokes that aren’t memorable or stick out. It’s as if the programme is hesitant to pull the trigger and truly shock fans, yet the stand-alone narratives aren’t distinctive or compelling enough to carry the show on their own.
1670, like a nice joke told too often, quickly loses its enchantment and attractiveness. We’ve seen comedy like this before, but 1670 doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It’s a fantastic ride while it lasts, but it’s not one to binge watch. The jokes are occasionally one-note, and there isn’t nearly enough here to make for a terrific comedy. It’s worth watching a few episodes, but if you’re not sold, you’re unlikely to stay to the finish.