When it comes to television series, the ratio of wheat to chaff on streaming services like Netflix tends to skew more toward "chaff" than "wheat." That is to say, for every shining nugget of glorious drama or comedy, there's a million other shows that are absolutely not worth your time.
Figuring out which column a given show falls under can be difficult, and Netflix's suggestion algorithm does a decent job — but it's nothing compared with another human being saying, "Hey, this here? This is good, and you should watch it."
So, keep that in mind as I say this: Danger 5 is good, and you should watch it.
But what is Danger 5, exactly? It's an Australian comedy series that originally began airing in 2012. There's two seasons, consisting of 14 episodes total — six in the first season, seven in the second, and a special prequel episode that Netflix slots between the two.
Each episode clocks in at about 30 minutes, so it's relatively easy to take a moment out of your busy schedule to watch one or two at a time.
The reason Danger 5 is, well, Danger 5 is because the show shares its name with a group of five soldiers/adventurers/spies called Danger 5. Ostensibly because there are five of them, and they are dangerous. Or something like that, anyway. It's not exactly clear. They prance about in what is a 21st century take on a 1960s take on World War II. And oh, yeah, they're ordered about on missions by a man with an eagle's head.
Yeah, that's right: a man with an eagle's head.
Danger 5 is basically an absurd series of running gags and jokes somewhat loosely centered around the scale-model style of shows like Thunderbirds. Sometimes it takes itself seriously, but more often than not, the show just does whatever seems most hilarious at the time. The one constant seems to be the fact that Danger 5 is out to stop the Nazis — more specifically, Hitler himself.
Honestly, none of that even does the series justice, and it doesn't help that the first and second seasons are so vastly different. If the first season is a take on Thunderbirds, the second is closer to the likes of Miami Vice and other '80s fare — down to the synth music and obsession with cocaine. One of the characters is played by a different actor in the second season, and it's not even lampshaded. This is just how Danger 5 is.
If there's an easy equivalent in popular culture, it'd likely be something that Cartoon Network's Adult Swim would put on. There's no one-to-one analog, but it's close. The first season of Danger 5 is especially formulaic while relishing in its own ridiculousness. If you swapped Danger 5 with the name of literally any live-action Adult Swim show in the last sentence, it'd still be accurate.
But that's all upper echelon stuff, and where Danger 5 really shines is in the goofy specifics. The team's composed of Tucker, Jackson, Pierre, Ilsa and Claire. Other important figures include Colonel Chestbridge – the man with an eagle head – and Hitler himself. The first season is often just Chestbridge telling the group to go stop some ridiculous plot and, as always, to kill Hitler.
Tucker's what you might call their leader, though he's rarely effectual. He's Australian, and he has a thing for Claire. He's also the most straight-laced of the group, which tends to mean he gets the best lines in the second season, when things go truly kooky. Jackson is a classic GI with ... well, it's some kind of complex. He always wants to be incredibly manly about things, although that may be easily explained, depending on how you interpret the end of the series so far.
Jackson also has a thing for Ilsa — the Russian member of the team who's both extremely sex-positive and totally done with the rest of the team's shit. She only ever speaks in Russian, though that doesn't seem to stop the rest of them from understanding her. She also happens to be the one who most often gets shit done while everyone else is screwing around, though she has her own share of misadventures.
Claire, for her part, waffles between unexpected sexpot virgin, defiant captive, and the woman with a plan. When she's not being ogled by Hitler or his lackeys, she's the one with an idea of how to get things done. These ideas don't always work, or even come to fruition – thanks to the meddling of her comrades – but it's funny to watch. She knows what's up, but nobody else seems to think so.
Pierre is kind of an oddity. Though he appears in both seasons, different actors play the character, which the show uses as a commentary on such practices. It adds a layer to the music- and drug-loving man with Afro-Cuban roots, which makes him that much more surreal. Pierre's also the center of most of the show's running gags, and the first season is particularly full of them.
As a show, Danger 5 is a soup of all these ingredients that's been left to simmer for almost too long. It toys with the line in the first season, and completely crosses it on all borders in the second. If any of the following interests you, you should be watching Danger 5: Nazi dinosaurs, Atlantis shenanigans, time-travel cocktails with real mozzarella, inspired scale-model puppetry, and tropes being pushed to the breaking point under the weight of so much absurdity.
If you're still not convinced, the one gag that immediately sold me on the show is that the voice tracking is just slightly off. It never completely syncs with their lips — so their jokes, and really the timing on everything, is about a half-step from what it should be. It takes the more ludicrous scenes to an entirely different level. And that's a pretty good summation of the show as a whole.