Season 1 of Danger 5 (a show about five members of a crack team of secret agents bent on killing Hitler, all filmed in the style of 1960’s camp) was a bit of a miss comedically. Season 2, however, took everything that was great about Danger 5 and amplified it to the extreme.
Where Season 1 was a half-hour camp show that involved the characters of Jackson (the brash American), Ilsa (the sultry Russian), Tucker (the wet shirt Australian), Pierre (the suave Frenchman?) and Claire (the British prude) facing a new adventure on a weekly basis and narrowly missing out finally killing Adolf Hitler, Season 2 took the show to an hour-long serial format, with the entire season forming one long narrative.
One of the things that Season 1 did well was that it took the common character tropes of that the characters fit into and played with them, sometimes having them fall into the formulaic niche to an overwhelmingly stereotypic point and other times having the character leave them entirely.
Season 2 continues this trend, but where Season 1 was an exploration (and satire of) ’60’s Camp, Season 2 takes place 18 years after WWII, in the 1980’s. (Because reasons). Hyper violent, hyper serious, dark and gritty, the show features the logical path that the Season 1 characters would have followed. Jackson is a coked out, depressed, whoremongering cop in a large metropolitan city who sports the cliché shoulder holster. Tucker and Claire are married. Pierre is a world-famous fashion designer/musician/coke fiend with a Japanese butler named Makenzie that is part man, part white tiger. Ilsa at first appears to be a worn out, coked out dancer/whore who is actually a spy working for her husband, Comrade Khrushchev.
Many of the gags that appeared in Season 1 follow to Season 2. For instance: in the first season Pierre (played by Aldo Mignone) is constantly having friends or lovers die in his arms. As they die they give him the recipe for the “perfect” cocktail of some type. In season two Pierre, played by Pacharo Mzembe for some reason (it is never explained why Pierre changed both actors and ethnicity, which is part of the comedic genius) is constantly being handed mixtapes by total strangers, which almost always turn out to be terrible to the viewer but instrumental gold to the characters.
The episodes follow similar ’80’s tropes as well. One episode is a homage to / parody of 21 Jump Street. Another features a Back to the Future storyline. Later in the series we visit the tropes of a serial killer hunting teenagers, of a city cop being framed for murder, and eventually a better version of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
But the true genius of the show is how it adheres to the narrative style of a standard 1980’s cop drama (featuring a big bad criminal who harrows the team during each episode). Except that villain is Hitler.
Hitler has a master plan that involves hiding for 18 years after faking his death, only part of which involves getting his revenge against the Danger 5 team. While not taking itself seriously at all, the show is able to satire the hyper-serious dramas of the 1980’s which were too serious to realize how ridiculous their storylines were.
Danger 5 can’t be watched stand alone. You can’t come into it halfway. You need to watch both seasons, in order, which sadly means sitting through the mostly mediocre first season. But trust me, Season 2 is worth it.