Review by Dan Skip Allen
Samuel L Jackson has had a long and storied career in the last fifty years. From his minor cameo roles in Goodfellas as Stacks and Do the Right Thing as the DJ Mister Senor Love Doctor to his long-running fan-favorite characters like Nick Fury and Mace Windu, he has shown in his career that he can play literally any character he sets his mind on. In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, he might have found the best role of his career.
Ptolemy Grey (Samual L Jackson) is an elderly man who lives by himself in Atlanta, Georgia. He has Alzheimer's, which causes him not to remember what he has done before. He has to constantly ask his caregiver, Reggie (Omar Benson Miller, CSI: Miami), about what he has done before. This debilitating disease has pretty much taken all his faculties except that he does remember a friend of his past, Coydog (Damon Gupton, Criminal Minds)
After a tragic event that happens to Reggie, Ptolemy is left truly on his own. He has no one to look after him or his affairs. That is until Robyn (Dominique Fishback, Project Power) is thrown out of the house she is staying in. She comes to visit Ptolemy, and she sees how he is living and decides to help him out. She notices a doctor's appointment on his refrigerator that Reggie helped set up for him. This appointment will change his life catalytically for the better. Dr. Rubin (Walton Goggins, Justified) has a new and groundbreaking medication that will help him out.
Along with this new medicine and Robyn to help him, Ptolemy has a new lease on life. He starts to reestablish old relationships and make new ones. Along the way, he tries to figure out what happened to his nephew, Reggie. Robyn also helps him get his finances in order and establish financial stability in his life. Both the doctor and Robyn are a godsend for him in his life. And he is very grateful for them both.
In addition to the actors I have mentioned, the cast of this show is all fantastic. The show has a big cast of characters that complement Samuel L Jackson and the others. Most of them are new to me, but I'm sure they have been around for a while. These actors have to play greedy members of Ptolemy's family, ex-girlfriends, lawyers, and judges. In that regard, they are all fantastic in their various roles.
This show has some interesting subject matter that it talks about. Senior illnesses are a very touchy subject in films or otherwise. As far as older people's finances go, this is another touchy subject to tackle in media. The writers don't dance around these subjects at all, instead tackling them straightforwardly. This show is based on the book by Walter Moseley about topics that must mean a lot to him. The fact that Apple TV+ has helped produce this show is all the more impressive.
Ramin Bahrani is known for his Oscar-nominated film The White Tiger and the housing market crash film 99 Homes. He hasn't shied away from dealing with tough, controversial topics in his directing career. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is his latest project. He has a knack for picking projects that say something about society as a whole. The tough topics of this show are no different. They represent a subculture of America and the world we all can relate to — a sickly family member who's on the verge of losing everything. It's not a topic for the lighthearted, and Bahrani handles it like a seasoned pro.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a good show that tackles difficult subject matter. The actors who star in this show, from Jackson, Fishback, Goggins, and the rest, all do an excellent job getting their motivations across on screen. The script based on the book of the same name is also very good. Bahrani knows his way around these types of stories, and it shows in the end product. Apple TV+ has a winner on its hands. It might not be easy to digest at times, but it's worth your time.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey streams on Apple TV+ beginning March 11. New episodes debut subsequent Fridays. All six episodes reviewed.