'Patrick Melrose' is a wickedly funny drama series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, who critics say gives a masterful performance

  • Showtime’s new miniseries, “Patrick Melrose,” made its debut Sunday night.
  • Critics are praising Benedict Cumberbatch for his riveting performance as Patrick Melrose, a man from an upper-class family who is an addict.
  • The show spans decades of Patrick’s life, from his traumatic childhood, to the peak of his addiction, and his recovery.
  • The series is stylish and is both both funny and dramatic.

Benedict Cumberbatch is having a great year so far.

He’s been praised for his work as Doctor Strange in “Avengers: Infinity War,” and now he’s receiving high praise for his performance on “Patrick Melrose,” a miniseries that aired its first episode Sunday night on Showtime. It currently has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Based on the acclaimed novels by Edward St. Aubyn, Cumberbatch plays the titular character, a man from an upper-class British family who had a traumatic childhood that led to substance abuse. The series documents different phases of Patrick Melrose’s life spanning decades, from his early life in the South of France, partying in New York, to his recovery back home in the UK.

The series, which will have five episodes, also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Blythe Danner, and Hugo Weaving, who plays Patrick’s father.

NPR critic David Bianculli wrote that “parts of it are wickedly funny; other parts are searingly dramatic. But all of it is riveting, and excellent.”

The darkly comedic series is getting praised by critics for its over-the-top but stylish look, its scathing take on high society, its portrayal of an addict, and Cumberbatch’s performance which has been called a “masterpiece of vulgarity.”

Cumberbatch’s work on “Patrick Melrose” will easily get him an Emmy nomination later this year, and he already has a good chance at winning.

Ira Madison III of The Daily Beast even credited “Doctor Strange” for why Cumberbatch is so great in this “trippy” drama:

“The drug-haze scenes are wildly over the top, like a blend of Charles Bukowski and Inherent Vice. It’s reminiscent of the bright, trippy world that Cumberbatch dove into in Doctor Strange. It’s what makes Patrick Melrose so wonderful.”

“Patrick Melrose” airs Sunday nights on Showtime.

Watch the trailer for “Patrick Melrose” below:


Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.