fb-pixel Skip to main content

‘Ten Percent’ borrows too much narrative, not enough satire

Costars Jack Davenport, Lydia Leonard, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Maggie Steed attended the "Ten Percent" press launch in London in April.Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

I’ve started AMC’s “Ten Percent,” the British adaptation of the French Netflix series “Call My Agent!”

And it’s not bad, with a strong cast and a group of guest stars including Helena Bonham Carter and Kelly Macdonald who evoke some of the spirit — if not the brutal satire — of the original series. Both shows are about a talent agency whose agents juggle clients, cope with divas, and deal with their own office soap opera.

The regulars are appealing, in a less expressive, more British way than those of the original. Jack Davenport stands out as the owner’s son, a chilly fellow who becomes panicky when his secret daughter shows up and gets a job at the agency. And Lydia Leonard (who is excellent on “Gentleman Jack”) is sufficiently ambitious in the agent role that Camille Cottin knocked out of the park on “Call My Agent!” The actors who appear as versions of themselves are amusing, although they don’t skewer themselves with as much glee as those in the original.


But, at least for the first few episodes, there is a problem with “Ten Percent” for those who have seen the original, with its breathtaking tour of Paris. It’s too loyal to the narrative blueprint of “Call My Agent!,” to the point where the story lines lose their charm because we’ve seen them play out already. Some remakes toy a bit with the source, but “Ten Percent,” written by John Morton, prefers to hew closely. More alterations might have helped to make it feel fresh, for those of us making a return trip.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.