HBO Max’s period comedy Minx brings a nice throwback energy to its modern, bingeworthy content, delivering a brisk story with a winning ensemble. The adorable Ophelia Lovibond stars as Joyce Prigger, an intellectual Vassar graduate with a passion in life: to create a popular, feminist magazine that changes the world. Unfortunately, when she attempts to pitch her concept for The Matriarchy Awakens at a convention in the early 1970s, only one publisher will give her the time of day: Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson), a San Fernando Valley pornographer. Turned off by Renetti’s greasy smarm, Joyce also inadvertently gives him an idea: a pornographic magazine for women. It’s a match made in purgatory, as Joyce ultimately seizes an imperfect opportunity to battle the patriarchy with an open-minded but problematic partner.
Minx is an addictive streaming era comedy elevated by the onscreen, non-romantic chemistry of its two stars. Indeed, Lovibond and Johnson might have been born to play these roles, and as Jenn pointed out while we were watching the pilot, they possess a great Sam-and-Diane energy, which fuels the zany plots as they struggle to launch their unlikely joint venture. Frankly, I think this duo is easier to like, since Cheers tended to lionize Sam at Diane’s expense; here, the characters are both flawed but ultimately reasonable, which makes their spirited jousting entertaining without being toxic. That’s just one element of the retro atmosphere Minx delivers, though. Its tacky seventies fashions and quirky workplace give it classic sitcom vibes, the starring duo surrounded by delightful colleagues played by Jessica Lowe, Oscar Montoya, Lennon Parham, and Idara Victor. It also has a strong voice, articulately messaging its point of view in between its clever dialogue and occasionally shocking visuals. A very promising debut season for a series that I’m hoping will stick around for a while.