Rian Johnson is already hard at work on his next project, the original television series Poker Face. The series will stream exclusively on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Johnson’s T-Street Productions and MRC Television will produce the 10-episode first season. Natasha Lyonne of Orange Is the New Black and Russian Doll fame will star.
In addition to being the creator, Johnson is also taking on writing and directing duties. Poker Face will be his first-ever original series. His previous television work includes directing three episodes of Breaking Bad, including the Emmy-winning “Ozymandias”. He’s most recognizable, however, for 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Given the director’s track record, Poker Face being a mystery drama is far from a surprise. His first film, Brick, was an homage to detective noir — set at a high school. New Hollywood whodunnits such as The Last of Sheila and Clue inspired his acclaimed film Knives Out, which featured an ensemble cast that included Chris Evans and Ana de Armas. Johnson describes Poker Face as a deconstruction of classic “case-of-the-week” television (think Columbo).
Lyonne, who co-created Netflix’s Russian Doll, called Poker Face a “dream show.” So far, she’s the only member of the cast to have been revealed. This is her first project with Johnson, although the two have interacted on Twitter before. Interestingly, Johnson tagged Lyonne in a tweet about the Columbo board game back in 2019. It’s safe to assume the crime drama was a big influence on Poker Face, especially considering their similar formats.
Johnson’s Breaking Bad work is great, but Poker Face being his debut series means we’re not sure what to expect. His films have given him both critical and box office success, but he’s far from scandal-free. Most notably, he’s been criticized for his handling of characters in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film that made him a household name also made him one of the most divisive people in the biz.
Peacock is also a bit of an odd one out in the world of entertainment. Despite being “free as a bird,” it hasn’t come close to the heights reached by its competitors. It has NBC’s The Office, and that’s about it. When it comes time to binge, people are turning to Netflix, which is churning out new content every day. Peacock hasn’t even earned a seat at the table. New projects like Poker Face and the Bel-Air reboot will draw viewers in, but will those same viewers stay? At least we’re not talking about Quibi here.
Poker Face will be released on Peacock on an unspecified future date.