Ricky Gervais, known for his character David Brent, a manager on "The Office" so bad he spawned at least six international remakes, and for a Golden Globes turn so caustic he'd be lucky to get a job hosting at a TGI Fridays, is going ... soft?
"Derek" is a 30-minute comedy drama (or, as it's known in Hollywood, a "dramedy" or "Gilmore Girls") starring Gervais as a slow caretaker at a retirement home. He works alongside Dougie, played by Karl Pilkington (further muddying the waters for people who wonder if "Karl" from Gervais's podcast is a real person or a years-long, Andy Kaufman-esque hoax) and a host of other losers, outsiders, and sad sacks.
This may be the furthest Gervais (who also created, wrote, directed, and executive-produced the series) has ever stretched beyond his comfort zone in acting. It may signal the beginning of a Robin Williams-style turn into a serious actor, though, of course, the show looks as if it'll have plenty of his trademark wit.
"The uncaring outside world popping in and out will boil your blood and the residents inside will break your heart," says Netflix. So Gervais looks to be using his superpower (irritating people) for good rather than evil. It remains to be seen whether it'll be enough to persuade Tim Allen to forgive him for the 2011 Globes.
The series is a Netflix Original and will premiere September 12.