Netflix’s Unstable is a Wasted Opportunity to Get to Know the Lowes | TV/Streaming

That’s the origin story for “Unstable,” Netflix’s newest, tragically disposable comedy series, a show that can’t often decide whether it’s about that fragmented father-son dynamic, or the eccentricities of tech billionaires, or something in between. To its credit, there’s at least some charm to be found in the show’s eccentric cast and sly verbal wit. Unfortunately, most of that happens when the Lowes are off-screen.

The elder Lowe plays Ellis Dragon, a hotshot tech billionaire whose company, Dragon, is the corporate leader in the kind of ambitious biotechnology that VCs love to claim will save the Earth. (Their magnum opus: Working on a type of concrete made from greenhouse gases. Save the earth and hardscape your backyard? ¿Por que no los dos?) But when we first meet him, he’s in the midst of grievance, or, well, whatever grievance looks like for billionaires. He’s lost his wife in a tragic accident, which is sending him down a spiral of even more erratic behavior than the office is used to.

Desperate to get him back on track before the board catches wise of his—say it with me—unstable nature, taciturn CFO Anna (Sian Clifford) and suck-up scientist Malcolm (Aaron Branch) reach out to the only person left who can get him back on track. That person, of course, is Ellis’ estranged son, Jackson (John Owen Lowe), a brilliant researcher who bristled at his dad’s egomania and left to become a bohemian flautist in New York City. Cue the move back home, the reluctant resuming of duties in Dragon’s R&D lab, and the struggle to patch things up with his attention hog of a pops.

In theory, the idea of ​​a real-life father and son hashing out their issues amidst the backdrop of a breezy sitcom is a cool idea. Problem is, the tech-CEO backdrop, and Ellis’ brief as a character, makes that throughline feel frustratingly inert. Lowe’s Ellis is basically Chris Traeger from “Parks and Recreation” after a billion-dollar seed round; he’s still playing around with serenity bowls and meditating naked in his office, and that’s kinda the most interesting thing about him. Jackson, for his part, is the “normal” one, and John Owen occasionally gets to stretch outside the straight-man role set out for him. But when the father-son conflict is this one-sided—mostly, a son freaking out that everyone loves his dad too much—it doesn’t leave anywhere for these characters to go.