Lodge 49 isn’t an urgent show. It’s not loud or demanding, nor does it burst onto the scene with a high-stakes plot designed to immediately suck you in. It is, mostly, the opposite: quiet, chill, endearingly low stakes, and generally free of tension. Created by writer Jim Gavin, Lodge 49 is as affable as its main character, an ex-surfer nicknamed “Dud” (played by the charming Wyatt Russell), who is meandering through life following a downward spiral.
After a trip to Nicaragua, Dud was bitten by a snake and almost died; it never healed properly and he can no longer surf. Then, his father died — “Long Beach Man Presumed Drowned,” the headline reads — the business closed, and the house was foreclosed. Throughout it all, Dud remains light-hearted — whether it’s because he’s eternally optimistic or a little dim-witted is up to you.
So, yeah, Lodge 49 (which counts Paul Giamatti as one of its producers) doesn’t seem like much of anything. It exists in a weird place, with the feel of a slightly bleak hang-out sitcom but with an hourlong runtime, and doesn’t quite fit into AMC’s line-up (especially since it follows Better Call Saul). The dramatic comedy is hard to describe — even AMC claimed it “defies easy categorization,” instead using buzzwords like “poignant” and “entertaining” — but there’s definitely something to be said for the show’s mellow tone, calming nature, and small-scale world. If nothing else, it certainly stands out amongst the dramas centered on torment and dead girls.