Judging an entire series off one episode is a bit of a stretch, but an hour of “don’t call me a gangster” goodness in Tulsa King was enough to have me intrigued at the least. Coming to Paramount+ on November 13th, Sylvester Stallone makes his series starring debut, and he just might have something here worth watching.
Tulsa King follows mafia capo Dwight “The General” Manfredi (Stallone) getting released after 25 years in prison Here is what we know: he kept his mouth shut, he lost his family, and now, everything he knew about the mafia has changed. According to iMDB there are a pile of characters we have not been introduced to yet, but I’m excited to see what the season has in store, and what kind of characters are on their way.
Manfredi is banished to Tulsa, Oklaholma to set up shop, essentially. The problem is, there is no “shop” to set up in Oklaholma. Tulsa King aims for a fish out of water experience and mostly does well in its first episode. I will say, however, that this is very much a case of everything falling perfectly into place. Why anyone goes along with what Manfredi says is beyond me, outside his driver Tyson (Jay Will), because money can make the world go ’round.
“One thing Tulsa King really did well though, are the twists toward the end of the first episode.”
The difference between locales in Tulsa King is quite apparently, with New York being filled a busy city with elaborate homes, albeit gaudy furniture, flashy clothes and boisterous characters. Tulsa, on the other hand, is colourless, empty and filled with somewhat muted and dull characters, making Stallone’s character really stick out. With the exception of Tyson, everyone in Tulsa seems naive and simple, and everyone in New York seems loud and aggressive.
Tulsa King is labelled as a crime drama, but with actors like Martin Starr playing Bohdi, a marajuana dispensary owner, and the absurd setting for a mafia capo, there is definitely some humour peppered between the blunt force trauma. Seeing Domenick Lombardozzi take on the role of the new mafia king of sorts felt very fitting, even if the full head of hair took me by surprise. With so many characters between the mafia, the bar, the dispensary, the party girls and more yet to come, I am curious to see how it all comes together, who really matters, and who doesn’t. Right now it feels like any group could be worthy of a main storyline.
As mentioned, there are definitely some flaws in the storyline, since everyone (except the mafia, apparently) just does whatever Manfredi says, including women flocking to the 75-year-old man. One thing Tulsa King really did well though, are the twists toward the end of the first episode. It looks like there will be plenty of drama, excitement and punches during the season, and although Stallone isn’t exactly the perfect leading man for a drama, he fits right in as a crime boss.