Dispatches from Elsewhere (TV Series 2020) Poster

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eclectic cast
SnoopyStyle29 November 2021
Peter (Jason Segel) is a regular guy with a nothing special life. He and other ordinary people find a strange secret world. Fredwynn (André Benjamin), Janice (Sally Field), and Simone (Eve Lindley) become almost his family as they search for the truth between the Jejeune Institute and the Elsewhere Society.

This is an eclectic cast of characters highlighted by Eve. On top of that, the romance is what sets it apart. It's always great to have Sally and André holds his own. It's an odd show and I like its uniqueness. It does drift from time to time and the pacing can be uneven. It's a quest but it's hard to know the goal. The story seems to end after one season although who knows if this thing is continuing. That fits.
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Fascinating mix of mystery, character study, and general weirdness for 7 episodes, then ...
cherold30 April 2020
I loved this from the first episode, in which the fabulous Richard E. Grant give the audience an identity and then you spend an hour in that person's life, during which he comes across a weird institution, a weird anti-institution, and a distinctive group of fellow explorers of what appears to be a game or art piece.

The series is actually based on a weird art piece/game thing that apparently ran for a while which had these antagonistic organizations and lead people through a maze of weirdness. It's strongly reminiscent of Alternate Reality Games, which create a faux-real world and can interact with players, except instead of almost everything happening on your computer, everything happens in the real world.

The four main characters are interesting and distinct; a depressed nebish, an intense woman in the midst of change, an older woman struggling with a new reality, and a guy who rejects that this is just a game and at first seems like a paranoid schizophrenic until he offers a pretty convincing rationale.

There is exploration, puzzles, surprises, and Grant as a charismatic/creepy cult/business leader. If you like dram that plays with your sense of reality and tries to take your brain to new places then you should love this. I know I do.

That, at least, is what you get for 7 brilliant episodes. But then the series does something surprising. Instead of ending where the game wraps up, we get two episodes of how the characters live post-game. These are interesting, as the characters are appealing and well acted, but it's less exciting than what came before.

And then there's the final episode, which is very meta and very self-indulgent and lays waste to everything that came before. It reminds me of the way the Canadian series Newsroom ended a season of sharp political satire with a self-indulgent attempt at Fellini. Because some entertainers hate the idea that they're just entertainers.

So, first 7 episodes I'd give an overall 10/10. The next two 7 or 8/10. The finale a generous 6.

Overall the great parts more than balance out the weak parts, but it's a shame the series changed horses in midstream.
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A Lecture?
westsideschl14 January 2021
1. Strange trivia: Fred poured an entire container of powdered matcha green tea into a glass. Why did it turn brown? He drank it all, but that's enough tea for 20 large glasses. Not healthy. 2. Are Team Blue & Team Red a comment on political division. 3. Peter: You have to be in a game to feel like you are somebody while looking inside to discover who you are. Peter is you, so is your story a comedy or tragedy? 4. Simone is you if always feeling let down. 5. Janice is you if you ever worried that your best days are behind you. Janice is the surrogate of us. 6. Fred is you if you sensed things are not as they appear; that there are mysterious forces at play. 7. Question: Are the viewers participating in a game w/Clara (Lee) creating the supposed conspiracy thus our mystery. 8. Question: Was it all an augmented spooky & surprises reality? Was it a self, and all of us story/movie/picture within a self, and all of us story/movie/picture? 9. Is the movie's theme a contradiction? "You are you". Change comes from finding one another. No me, no you, only us. 10. In counterpoint to the perhaps movie's central theme is this: 2163 billionaires have more wealth than 60% (4.6 billion) of the world's population. Global inequality exists resulting in short & often miserable lives, and females are disproportionally affected.
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A Magical Experience
atlasmb27 April 2020
This is a challenging show for anyone who likes predictable, formulaic series. The show feels like an open-ended question that just gets broader and broader, forcing the viewer to question every assumption. Amazingly, the series is based on an actual event that occurred in San Francisco.

As you watch the four diverse main characters, it's like watching a rave combined with a scavenger hunt combined with a conspiracy novel. Each of the four has life issues that are somehow quelled by their involvement in the mysterious quest that is "Dispatches".

The series is set in Philadelphia, and it's fun to see the various locations that Philly is known for, like Boathouse Row, Geno's, Pat's, and the "Rocky Steps" at the Museum of Art.

Art actually plays a major role in the show, because art involves creativity, challenge, and exploration.

Watching the characters confront choices, the viewer is forced to ask himself what he would do in the same circumstances. Confronted with urban loneliness, do you purposefully connect with other people or do you maintain what is now considered a safe social distance? Do you accept the challenge to see the world as stimulating and entertaining? Or are you someone who walks, head down, staring at your phone?

Though none of the four protagonists are overtly heroic, hopefully you will find a hero and the hero is you.
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Dispatches From Elsewhere Review
robfollower3 March 2020
Now that I have had the opportunity to see the first few episodes, I must say I am properly hooked. The feel of the show is something novel. Dispatches From Elsewhere is also extremely confusing and wildly unpredictable. The main plot often feels impossible to pin down. It's difficult to even describe the series to someone who hasn't watched it in a way that even remotely encompasses what it's about. But the ultimate effect of all this? A sort of narrative alchemy that leaves me wanting more, even as I admit that I'm not entirely sure what it is that I've been watching.

The story of four people brought together by something that's larger than themselves. Granted, we don't know what, precisely, that thing is just yet.

All around, Dispatches from Elsewhere is brilliantly cast. Jason Segel is perfect for the character of Peter, who has been plugging through the doldrums of life and "work stuff." Eve Lindley's Simone gives us an entry point more laden with anxiety. There's Fred Wynn (Andre Benjamin), an awkward genius with an eye for clues and patterns, but no understanding of people or social interactions. There's Janice (Sally Field), a cheery retiree struggling to process her own problems .

It's a whole lot of fun to enter into this world. I'm excited to explore it more and to see where this quirky narrative is going. Innovative storytelling and intriguing, fully-rounded characters make it a must-watch.
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Difficult to review
nancyldraper22 July 2021
I need to confess that I've put off writing a review of this limited series because I'm really conflicted about how it is crafted. It begins with a decidedly sinister narrator (or is that just the real life vibe of Richard E Grant?) telling us that they are going to break all the rules of storytelling in a limited series. The first character is written and performed to be emotionally flat and yet we are told to identify with him. Once I got to the relationships, I began to enjoy it (Eve Lindsey's and Sally Field's characters and performances are fantastic) but the last episode turns everything on it's head when it breaks the fourth wall (again) and turns into the creator's existential catharsis, which really unravelled the whole experience for me. (FYI, the series was inspired by a 2013 documentary called THE INSTITUTE about a group of people who fashioned this alternate reality game in San Francisco.which was also a trippy experience) I give the six episodes in the middle of this series an 8 (great) out of 10, but the others a variety of 5 (meh), 6 (fair) and 4 (poor). {Fantasy Drama Mystery} >See why this was a difficult review to write<
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Great show
Pukeonthestreet2 March 2020
Can't wait to see where it goes. For his first big project it's paying off. I was wondering where he went for a while and it turns out he was busy making this great series.
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WASTE OF TIME unless you are artsy fartsy
billsoccer24 March 2020
This is an exercise in pointless 'ART'. Each episode - instead of adding more to your knowledge, simply adds more weirdness. I quit!
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I have no idea what this is
boydpeters9 March 2020
And for some reason, it has earned no goodwill for me to want to give it a go.

The girl is a terrible over-actor too
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The what
Zedyeti4 March 2020
It's like an hour long commercial of confusion. I'm guessing i got the placebo because I have no idea what's going. Maybe it gets better after episode 2? But seriously wtf is going on haha
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If A Nervous Breakdown Was A Series
zac-6827417 July 2020
If the writing was as good as the acting! Sally Fields was average, she could've expanded more based on her character. Series started to dwindle after Episode 7 re-entering the same questions. If I'm what you want me to be then what am I? Everyone has different life challenges but these characters were a bit unrealistic even for campiness!
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i've spent some time
imizrahi200212 August 2021
After the last credits were done, thinking about this program... first off...it's not for everyone...even EYE had a love/hate relationship with it along the way...THEN, there's the style of storytelling...original would be an understatement... then...there was that just when i thought i was understanding something/what was going on... it went off in a new direction... so...that makes for wobbly footing for most... THEN...there's the characters...when we're told stories, the more we can identify with one/some of the characters and their situations, the deeper we're connected... after all...there's no such thing as fiction, as far as the body is concerned...our disbelief is(hopefully) on vacation...or in the other room...or asleep...so something is scary, and the body reacts as if it's really happening... but THESE characters? And they ARE 'characters'... but not hip to identify with for a young, or even 'straight' crowd... enjoying it...reaping the prizes along the way of this scavenger hunt takes patience, attention and diligence... and, most importantly, the ability to allow the storyteller to tell the story on their own terms... i thought it was well worth the effort when i was through...so i thought i'd mention it...
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Interesting idea and cast, just didn't grab me
bogus-bogus-one28 April 2020
I liked the idea and the cast, however I found myself getting more and more tired of this show after the 1st episode.

I get that it should probably just be accepted as a fantasy & then "go with it" but... I wasn't able too. As the series progressed I felt like I was being set up to arrive at some opinion rather than being allowed to come to enough conclusions on my own. I'm not positive that I'd have liked it more even if the story and acting had been a little more subtle. It's just tricky subject matter, maybe or even could have gone the other way... really over the top, or comedy?

Anyway, I can see why there would be a wide range of receptions. (and why someone felt the need to write a review of the reviews).
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Confused and disappointed
rrtiverton30 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The series started off great, but WOW, did it go off the rails. Made it to episode 11 and I am both lost and disappointed. Now Peter is Jason? Is Janice now named Sally?
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Best Thing I've Seen in Years... So far
mmevanille-5309725 February 2020
Reviewed after 1 episode: I know, I know but I will update it later.

This is a mystery drama, set in the US and follows an ordinary every day person called Peter, until his life is turned upside down by a mysterious place called Elsewhere, ran by Octavio ( Richard E Grant ), and is thrown into a series of events reminiscent of a certain Michael Douglas film.

It is well acted, well produced and has perfect pacing, all the way through. Not only that, if you relate to the characters, it draws you into the mystery.

Others mention it has no plot, but it actually does. The plot is in the lessons throughout, and of personal growth of the characters ( and the viewer ). As for the first episode, its actually a revolutionary concept, as it portrays a certain progression of thought, from insular to open-minded and inclusive. It is the reason why many people 'wont get it', think its 'absolutely nonsense' or 'confused' Its just they don't understand it, and can not grasp a concept of something bigger than their own petty belief structures and biases.

It has no political leaning whatsoever. I keep wondering what television certain reviewers on IMDB want to see when every single show is dubbed 'political' or 'woke' by ill-informed public. Maybe all they want to watch is WW2 re-enactments on repeat or fox news? I don't know.

The first episode itself could have ended the series, it ended perfectly. I couldn't pick a single flaw in the episode, from any vantage point.
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yowilwasup6 May 2020
Awful. Just awful. Shockingly awful. Quarantine awful even. I wrote a detailed review but realized its not worth it. Awful. I'm talking diseased Bat soup awful.
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Weird & Intriguing!
acharrell26 February 2020
Based in the first episode it's an 8. I'll have to see if that holds up. Impressions so far are that it looks cool, is well written and acted. It's weird and has a bit of a Michel Gondry early 2000's vibe. I am a big fan of strange TV. Most of my favorites get cancelled after a couple seasons because they're too weird for the general public. Check out the low rated reviews for this one and see what I mean. The people complaining about this show are either too unimaginative to understand a show like this, or they are just overtly racist and bigoted. Again, read the negative reviews to see what I mean. If you have an open mind and like a good weird mystery you should give this a shot.
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jelencesb14 September 2020
This will remain one of the most beautifully crafted tv shows of all times!
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Inside Jason's head
SkepticalSy1 March 2020
Not sure what I just watched, it's a bit too out there for me.

I feel like I just took the brown acid and now my head hurts.
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Jason Segel comes through again.
Ever since the wacky, heartwarming vampire puppet show at the end of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it was clear that there is a lot more to Jason Segel than the lovable Marshall from HIMYM. Here his creativity reaches new highs, and the force is clearly with him. Eve Lindley, Sally Field, and especially the incomparable Richard E. Grant, are a delight in their respective roles. The story falls somewhere between magical realism and satire, which allows it to be both entertaining and provocative. It is an entirely unique series, exciting, intriguing, and just fun!
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Unique, Engaging, Clever, Funny, Mysterious..... Enlightening
thewhale-491348 June 2021
After watching the whole first season, I can see why there is such a huge gap between IMDB scores and comments. The show seems to be for a specific audience that can "get it". If I saw this 10 or maybe even 5 years ago.... I don't think I would get it at all.

Great series for a few deeper perspectives on 'what life is about' from a different perspectives. The characters seemed very realistic to me, and the questioned they asked relevant. Thanks for the series.
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Never again
subwmn5 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
My husband and I like watching new shows and there are times when he has to coax me into watching something because he thinks it is good. He is usually right, but this time, I coaxed him and it was a waste of time. We found ourselves lost in episode 1 and it didn't get any better. I did like scenes with The Jejune Institute and thought they were funny. The outfit the woman wears when she meets Peter in the lobby matches the color scheme of the lobby. She gives him a key that has directions written on the key tag. Instead of exiting the elevator and going to the locked door, Peter reads the directions telling him which way to look and direction to go in before he can go straight to the locked door. He watches a video and afterward he is told to write his information on paper in the drawer next to him to be contacted. There are other sheets of paper in the drawer telling him to run from the institute and give more directions. He gets directed to a curio shop where he meets a transgender, Simone, who has been to the institute also. After that, we were ready to let it go, but stayed to see the episode through. Later on, he gets directed to a place to find people who have matching paddles and are in groups of 4. I do not see anything different about the paddles, except some are dark blue and others are light blue. People wandering around an area to find matching paddles. Never again. It was boring and dragged out and will be deleted from my dvr.
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An ouroboros
mauriciofernandogerhardt10 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The story: emotionaly numb guy sees odd flyers in posts. He follows it up to find a weird place called Jejune Institute. He interacts with an odd man Octavius that is on TV. Octavius tells Numb to sign up for the institute, and help them find a girl Clara and help make the world a better place. Under the sign up sheet there are insctructions written apparently by someone who has been here before, telling him to run away. He runs away and meets a male to female transsexual, which has also been to that odd room/ situation. He falls in love with her. Trans believes the whole thing is a game. From time to time Numb and Trans and other people they meet (about a hundred people) receive clues that lead them down surreal adventures. From these other people there are other 2 important characters: Game breaker and Empathic old woman: Game breaker is a genius young adult, self made millionaire, who is not good with the emotional side of things. He doesn't accept that it is a game, and believes it's part of a great conspiracy by giant companies who want to use people's personal information to manipulate them, to obtain power for those companies. Empathic old woman has a husband that is in a coma. All of the "game" participants find out that besides the jejune institute, there's an anarchist group. And they are led to choose which side they are on. But the 4 main characters find out that they are both sides of a show being presented before them. That the choice being presented is an artificial one. They track down Clara and the game architects and find out that Clara was a real person. That the game architect is a young adult black female. But when they come knocking at her door she pretends she's just a regular person, to throw them off her scent. They also find the apartment from where the architect has worked to make the game. They find Clara's old house, her murals, her medical records, but they don't find a certificate of death. On the last day of the game, Octavius, the leader of the jejune institute, and commander 14, the leader of the anarchists, show up and show that they are actually twin brothers, and that the last part of the puzzle is to realize that the participants are in a false dichotomy, and that they shouldn't be split into sides, and should see themselves into the participants of the other side. Then Clara is presented singing, and there's a big party where the twin brothers and Clara show that they are actors. Numb doesn't accept that and demands to know the truth. Game breaker thinks that the Architect should be lurking around the party to see the result of his/her accomplishments. Empathic old woman finds her and gets her to confess she's the architect. Throughout the adventures we find out that Clara's life went like this: Clara lived in a dull place, but she got 3 friends and tried to make the world a more interesting place by painting murals, and making crazy interesting stuff. Then she got contacted by a big media group, which she worked for. She left her friends behind and saw her ideas being changed by the industry into things that sell stuff. She emotionally lost herself. She became the Architect. Clara and the Architect are the same person. The Architect designed this experience as a way to try to find herself, and attune to what she did, by giving a sense of wonder to other people. Opinion: This is probably the part that most people who gave the series a bad rating would like it to stop. Back to story: Architect Clara says that she doesn't know if her work has completed it's purpose. It depends on the boy who is painted as a sad clown, as she points to him. This is the part of the story that breaks the previous format. The 4 characters can see together a character that isn't real. 10th episode (things get closer to reality): The story of the boy goes like this: a boy loved to act, so he decided to be an actor, and trained a lot for that. a businessman took him in and said do the shows and you'll get chocolate milk. The boy was happy. But doing the same thing over and over was boring, he wanted to change things. The businessman said that they should keep the format and gave more chocolate milk to the boy. The boy does a last big presentation where he faints on stage. Everyone leaves, and the boy gets a pile of money. Another break in the format (same actors, different roles): The next scene we have what seems to be numb guy at an AA meeting telling peope about his experiences of feeling used up, and empty. But it isn't numb guy, it's Jason Segel (the actor that played numb guy, and also the writer of this story). The sad clown boy was Jason Segel. After the meeting he meets Trans, or at least the same actor, but different role. Trans is now a person who's also at the AA meeting and can relate to what Jason has gone through. she invites him to her place, where they talk, and eventually she recommneds him to an experience, similar to the jejune institute experience that the numb character had. Real life: explanation: In the real world (not in this tv series), some years ago, there was an interactive game that was played in San Francisco. See the documentary THE INSTITUTE for more info. Back to the story: Jason Segel follows the experience and it makes him confront his way of thinking. He starts to break down, but a person who works for the game (played by the actress who did the old empathic woman) tells him, that he shouldn't feel bad. That the game is not being personal against him. That the game is the same for everyone. And that it just seems personal because most people have the same doubts and problems, but don't tell each other. Jason goes to a secluded house and writes down a show (this show: Dispatches from Elsewhere, or at least the first 9 episodes and a half of them). He shows it to Trans. She tells him that the script is good, but that the main character of it, sad boy/ Jason Segel, didn't accept any personal responsability for what happened to him. Jason gets mad, and leaves, and confronts his self, the sad clown boy, and we see that the real story is that Jason was an adult when he was offered a shitty script, but he accepted it because of the money. He drank alcohol, and not chocolate milk. And he was not a child when this happened, it's just that he's acting like a child. The kid says that if Jason writes another muppet movie, he'll be back. Real world talk: Jason Segel also wrote and acted on the latest muppet movie. The kid means: if you sell your self for money again, all this is going to happen again. But I don't think that the muppet movie was really what made him descend into numbness. It was probably that "How I met your mother" series. Why: 1) I think it's shitty, and a downer, and repetititve, and it took years. 2) He couldn't point to it and say that that series made that to him, because it would look bad on other people, and thus that would also make him look bad ("he's spitting in the faces of people that gave him a job!"), so he pointed the movie that he wrote, because pointing at yourself as the blame is considered acceptable. Back to story: He talks to same actor of game braker, different character. Now he's a tv exec/ audience. Jason is trying to pitch the tv show for him. The exec says the show is interesting, but it's a bit of a mess. Jason says he knows it's a mess, but that Jason is also a mess, and likes weird messes, and wants the show to be like that. The exec accepts it. Then there's a scene where the 4 main actors are looking at a tv, like they have just watched the tv show and are reviewing it, saying that the last episode is self indulgent, and should focus on community. So the camera pans out, and shows not only the actors, but everyone that made the tv show. Than it shows the watchers of the tv show. Then there's an explanation about how we're all made of the same stuff, so we're all the same. The end. Opinion: The final message is good intended and all, but I'll believe that Jason Segler believes what he's preaching (we're all the same) when he let's me use his bank account. All and all it's a great tv show, with many original ideas (which is rare). The title of my review is ouroboros, because it's the mythological serpent that is eating itself. This is about a world that is supposed to be about creating a sense of wonder, but at the end, it explains itself so much, there's nothing to wonder left. It starts off as a tv show for the audience, with an empty character, but at the end it seems to be a show for the writer, who's full of himself. It's a show that could get mostly great reviews if it ended at episode 9, but it destroyed that possibility with episode 10. I love anything that is meta (self referential), that's why I give this a 10. But people who got into this metaphorical bus (watched the tv show) for an emotional ride, might feel like they were thrown off a bus.
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What is This Show Trying to Be?
jjenk9117 March 2020
As I'm watching the pilot, I have no idea what this pretentious piece of show is trying to be. It seems to me that a plot was thrown against a wall and went from there. Never has a TV show or a movie gave me a headache. Complete and utter nonsense.
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Waste of time
in-imdb-121 July 2020
This is about lonely people joining a sort of lodge or club or whatever to get some excitement. Right from the start, after staring at the camera without saying a word, narrator promises to save 20 minutes of our time by shortening introductory sequence about the main character to a minimum 2 minutes. That would be a good initiative if there was some excitement waiting to happen. Yet after 50 minutes in the show, nothing interesting happened. By the amount of pedantism the show is full of, it would seem writers thought they were developing something intellectually stimulating and innovative, but the bar is so low, this show will look intelligent only to wanna be intelligent viewers. So cinematography is good, music is good, good locations and production. But directing, acting and writing are not. Maybe this show will appeal to people that have a low self-esteem or in need of a screensaver.
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