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Poker Face Renewed for Season 2

The season-by-season format of US shows created a hobby for TV buffs back during the tube’s earliest days, i.e. guessing what would come next. All anybody needed was a single episode to get the gears churning.

Most recently, HBO’s Walking Dead and Game of Thrones occupied this role, especially once the latter series entered the uncharted lands beyond the bits of George R.R. Martin’s imagination he’d already put to paper.

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Poker Face, starring Natasha Lyonne as protagonist Charlie Cale, is a Peacock series combining three of the world’s worst bedfellows: comedy, casinos, and murder. 

For millennials, that trio might sound reminiscent of Peter Berg's 1989 black comedy Very Bad Things, which is also set in Nevada. Poker Face has Cale on the run from a casino boss, though, rather than from basic human decency.

Poker Face has been renewed for a second season by network heads, following the critical acclaim it attracted during its first ten-episode run. The series is unusual in that it tells a different story in each episode, albeit under the umbrella of the pilot’s set-up.

While nothing about the resumption of Poker Face is yet known, the ending of season one hints at a similar format for its continuation. Charlie is now on the run from Rhea Perlman’s Hasp, who gave our protagonist an impossible choice in episode ten.

Pick-up-and-Play

Peacock's decision to pick up a casino-themed show seems especially prescient, as the US as a whole warms to the idea of online gaming.

The World Population Review website notes that seven states currently allow online casino gaming, mostly concentrated in the northeast (MI, PA, NJ, CT, DE, WV, and NV), while a further five (NY, MA, IL, IN, and CA) look likely to introduce it soon.

Poker Face’s connection to gambling is clear from its name but the show also begins its story in a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, where Charlie works as a cocktail waitress. Cale can tell when somebody is not telling the truth, too.

Shows about gambling aren't especially common, but there have been a few attempts over the last decade. For example, there’s The Player, which ran for a single season in 2015, has a similar setup to Poker Face (nefarious acts in and around a casino) while the popular Las Vegas (2003-2008) offers a glimpse at operations inside a real-life gaming house.

It could very well be that cultural changes and a shift within the casino industry, towards virtual and digital products, have affected the popularity of casino-related films and TV shows. It’s no secret that over the years, casinos have upped the ante with increasingly sophisticated, immersive and state-of-the-art offerings to cater to an international demographic online. Consider, for instance, the popularity of live roulette table games, which allow players to tune in from wherever they please, whenever they want, to play with a real-time croupier via webcam.

Once upon a time, this level of interaction and engagement was only possible on the casino floor itself, however, these days, players can authentically experience table games without stepping foot into a tangible casino floor.

Naturally, this means that a smaller viewership will directly relate to casino-inspired TV shows and films. Nonetheless, the industry is growing exponentially (as a whole) and there’s clearly scope to explore this on the silver screen. Perhaps the success of Poker Face will lead to more casino-inspired productions in the coming years.

Industrial Action

As for the launch date of Poker Face season two, the likelihood is that it will fall in mid-2024. Both creator Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Glass Onion) and actress Natasha Lyonne have other commitments, while industrial action in Hollywood continues to cast a shadow over world TV.

In any case, Poker Face will almost definitely continue to explore the darker aspects of human nature (mostly murder).

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