Sunny Review: Rashida Jones' Unique Sci-Fi Dark Comedy Strikes A Chord

Set in Kyoto, Japan, the intriguing comedic thriller features Rashida Jones as a grieving woman who uncovers a hidden past about her late husband. Read our review of the ten-part Apple TV+ series.

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Sunny

Critic's Ratings

starstarstarstarstar

3.5

Comedy,Drama,Thriller

Release Date

Jul 10, 2024
Sunny Review Rashida Jones Unique Sci-Fi Dark Comedy Strikes A Chord
Sunny Review: Rashida Jones' Unique Sci-Fi Dark Comedy Strikes A Chord

About Sunny

Rashida Jones headlines Sunny, the Apple TV+ series about an American woman named Suzie in Japan, who finds the unlikeliest connection with a robot. Created by Katie Robbins, the sci-fi series is endearing, with an underlying mystery about Suzie's family and the bonds she creates while trying to uncover the truth. The dark comedy is also about love and grief and deals with relationships between humans and artificial intelligence in a sensitive manner.

Sunny: Plot

After her husband Masa Sakamoto (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and young son Zen die in a plane crash, Suzie is overcome with grief. Her husband's company ImaTech sends over a homebot named Sunny (voiced by Joanna Sotomura) to look over her. Initially rejecting both human and robotic company, Suzie finds out more about Masa's real work at ImaTech and a distressing connection to the yazuka, who are keeping a close eye on the Sakamoto family. Can she save Sunny and figure out Masa's secrets that he kept from her during their decade of marriage?

Sunny: Writing and Direction

Based on the book Dark Manual by Colin O'Sullivan, Sunny is a fascinating narrative that gets to the heart of human relations. Creator Robbins with the writing and directing team takes viewers across a satisfying journey across Kyoto and Japan as old traditions and new technology mix in unexpected ways. The series also features strong female characters as Suzie deals with Sunny, her mother-in-law Noriko (Judy Ongg) and a hippie bartender named Mixxy (Singer annie the clumsy) who become her only friends. Another standout character in Sunny is a female yazuka boss named Hime (You) who is frighteningly effective. The series also cleverly mixes different genres to move the story forward, and like the good old days of television, devotes an entire episode to further explore one character.

Sunny: Performances

Jones is both acerbic and prickly as the grieving Suzie and gaijin (foreigner) who hasn't integrated into the country and doesn't speak Japanese. But the actress also lets her guard down at times, showing Suzie's loneliness. The homebots in the series are especially created to counter that, but Sunny is a special bot and Joanna Sotomura really gives the robot a personality to care and root for with her voice acting. The series really belongs to the women of Sunny as Ongg's Noriko, You's Hime and Singer annie the clumsy's Mixxy are all fascinatingly flawed characters who have done their best to survive.

Sunny: Critique

There is much to admire in Sunny from the production design and technology to its writing which places the show in a dystopian future but also has an emphatic take against artificial intelligence and how it's used by humans. It's a take that feels quite relatable for the era we live in. Sunny also takes wild leaps with its storytelling; one memorable episode is told entirely as a wild Japanese game show and it's one of the best of this season. With quirky characters, an intriguing mystery and memorable performances, Sunny stands out from the pack. The ten-episode series, largely in Japanese, premieres from July 10 from Apple TV+. New episodes of Sunny will air weekly on Wednesdays until September 4.
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