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‘Obliterated’ tries saving the world while nursing a major ‘Hangover’

Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

(CNN) — “Obliterated” is such an amusing concept, executed with utterly reckless abandon, that it mostly steamrolls over is abundant excesses and the challenge of stretching it out over eight episodes. Proudly raunchy in a way that recalls Amazon’s “The Boys,” this series from the creative team behind “Cobra Kai” merits a toast, or in the spirit of the show, five or six of them.

The general idea is another one of those elite “Mission: Impossible”-type squads, who in the early moments of the first episode thwart the threat of a nuclear explosion in Las Vegas, with their eccentric bomb technician, Hagerty (C. Thomas Howell), capping off the operation.

Realizing that the members will soon be scattered to other assignments, the group indulges in a celebratory party filled with drugs, debauchery and even a wayward camel – right before they discover the bomb was a mere decoy, a Russians arms dealer (Costa Ronin) remains several steps ahead of them, and the danger of annihilation still exists.

With that, the show really kicks into comedic gear, as the group labors to go about the usual James Bond-esque activities while still grappling with their chemically induced impairments, which includes everything from brutal honesty to wild hallucinations to a near-coma, adding a massive degree of difficulty to their already dangerous dive.

Circumstances force them to tell their superiors (the big boss is played by Carl Lumbly, also featured in Netflix’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”) that “someone” gave drugs to Hagerty. When asked what kind of drugs, the team’s muscle Chad (Nick Zano) and Trunk (Terrence Terrell) sheepishly reply, “All of them.”

The night also yields its share of intramural issues and complications, with team leader Ava (Shelley Hennig) still getting over a lost love while clearly attracted to Chad; Maya (Kimi Rutledge), the brainy hack-anything computer genius, silently lusting for Chad as well; and Trunk hiding a secret from Chad, his best pal. Plus, ace pilot Paul (Eugene Kim), who inadvertently partook in the festivities, learns his daughter has taken off with her boyfriend for the weekend to – where else? – Vegas.

“Obliterated” gets too silly in places and needs to keep throwing out red herrings and near misses to prolong the ticking-clock scenario. Think trying to do “The Hangover” as a limited series instead of a movie, only with a lot more gruesome violence and an extra dose of gratuitous nudity.

For the most part, though, the show is just plain fun, juggling comedy and spy conventions with a lot of knowing winks and a clear appreciation for the genre. It also helps that there’s nothing currently on quite like it, with the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Fubar” probably coming the closest.

Frankly, this isn’t the kind of series that would lend itself to a second season even in success – yes, what happens in Vegas should stay there, etc. – but the first has enough going for it to justify the trip, while delivering a useful reminder to everyone: If you’re thinking about getting completely wasted after work, be, like, really, really sure that the job is done.

“Obliterated” premieres November 30 on Netflix.

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