Do you know what your life's potential is? Have you fulfilled everything you were meant to be? What if there was a machine that could tell you? That's the crux of The Big Door Prize, the quirky comedy-drama from Apple TV+.
Based on the book of the same name by M.O. Walsh, it stars Chris O'Dowd. Gabrielle Dennis and Damon Gupta but what is it all about and is The Big Door Prize worth watching?
What Is The Big Door Prize About?
Set in a small town in America called Deerfield, life is reasonably good for the residents. Dusty (Chris O'Dowd) is a teacher married to his high-school sweetheart Cass (Gabrielle Dennis), and together they have a teenage daughter Trina (Djouliet Amara).
Then, absolutely out of nowhere, a destiny-predicting mysterious machine appears in their grocery store. With just your social security number and date of birth, the Morpho machine will tell you your life's potential.
Almost instantly, everybody wants to use the machine, and with their newfound direction in life, people start to change their lives in unbelievable ways.
Magician, Royalty, Father, Superstar, Male Model, Dancer, Hero. As the potentials keep coming, the residents of Deerfield go to extreme lengths to fulfil their potential.
But what starts out as a little bit of fun soon causes Dusty, Cass and their friends to really examine what it is in life that makes them happy. Residents start changing jobs, getting divorced, getting married on a whim and begin rethinking relationships.
Should they just be content with their lot or is there a bigger life out there, just waiting for them if they're brave enough to go get it? One thing is for sure, with the Morpho machine in town their lives will be forever changed.
The Big Door Prize Official Trailer
Is The Big Door Prize Worth Watching?
There's a lot to like about The Big Door Prize. Firstly, it is packed with relatable characters, led by Dusty, expertly played by Chris O'Dowd. Everybody is normal, going about their day-to-day lives. But, like most people, there's always a sense of having settled in life.
Secondly, while the Morpho machine is the catalyst for spurring on the changes, the show really focuses on relationships and the individuals in the town.
Triana is secretly dating Jacob, whose twin brother recently died in an accident and who Triana was actually dating before cheating on him with his brother. But nobody knows.
Cass's overbearing, attention-seeking mother has spent a lifetime minimising her daughter, blaming her for the family's separation years earlier.
Father Reuben is new to the town but is hiding his own tragic past. And Giorgio is the local sporting hero, in love with Cass from afar, but is tired of the facade he has to put on to get through each day.
So can the strange machine prompt them to have a better future? That's the high concept plot of the show. Would you literally change your life because a machine told you to?
More importantly, who put the machine in the store and why? The Big Door Prize really does ask a lot of questions from its audience but isn't heavy-handed about it.
It's done with subtlety and humour, and avoids going down any dark roads of existential crisis. Instead, it gently prods you along the town of Deerfield, genuinely invested in how the lives of these characters will turn out.
It's easy-to-watch tv, has a quirky concept, a lovable cast, and enough plots to keep you tuning in episode after episode, if only to see how life turns out for everybody.
The Big Door Prize TV Series Cast
Chris O'Dowd (The Starling) as Dusty Hubbard, a high school teacher married to Cass
Gabrielle Dennis as Cass, Dusty's wife of 20 years
Djouliet Amara as Trina, Dusty and Cass's teenage daughter
Patrick Kerr as Mr. Johnson, owner of the grocery store with the Morpho machine
Damon Gupton as Father Reuben, the local priest
Josh Segarra as Giorgio, local sports hero and owner of the town's biggest restaurant
Sammy Fourlas as Jacob whose twin brother recently died and who is dating Triana
Ally Maki as Hana, the bartender
Crystal R. Fox as Izzy, Cass's mother
Jim Meskimen as Cary Hubbard, Dusty's father
Deirdre O'Connell as Eloise Hubbard, Dusty's mother
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