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The Best Man franchise holds a bit of a unique spot in pop culture, mainly because the original film and its sequel were about 14 years apart. So the college friends from the original film were dealing with the life of being around 40. Now, almost a decade later, the group (sans one… see below) is back, they’re all around 50 and dealing with everything that gets thrown at people during mid-life. Do they have the same chemistry they did in 1999?

Opening Shot: After a recap that shows scenes from The Best Man (1999) and The Best Man Holiday (2013), we see a date of 2024. Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) is looking at a speech he’s about to make, and we hear him in voice over saying, “Well, I did it. Nearly half a century old, and I’m finally figuring it all out.”

The Gist: Harper is a successful author, married to Robin (Sanaa Lathan); they have a young daughter. He sees his best friend Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) in the audience and we hear the voice over saying, “Life doesn’t always go the way we expect, but somehow, if we’re lucky, we end up where we’re supposed to.”

Back in 2015, word of the impending marriage of Quentin Spivey (Terrence Howard) to superstar Xiomara Amani (Nicole Ari Parker), aka “The Unicorn”, has gotten out, and his ex, Shelby Taylor (Melissa De Sousa), tells Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that she’s cool with it. However, footage from the past season of The Real Housewives of Westchester, where she’s a cast member, say otherwise.

Except for Shelby, Quentin’s longtime friends are all invited to his resort on San Pierre. This includes Julian and Candace Murchison (Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall). Julian, aka “Murch”, is still smarting over Harper being named Quentin’s best man, and he’s determined to get Q to change his mind. They both go to visit their buddy Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut). He’s still smarting over the death of his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun, not in this series as far as we know) and basically screws anything that moves from an expensive hotel suite.

Harper has another reason why he wants to get Lance out of his rut: Harper gets word from his agent that his very first novel, Unfinished Business, is going to be made into a movie. A character based on Lance was the main focus of the novel, and he wants to give Lance a head’s up. But even when they get to San Pierre, he can’t find the right time.

He’s also concerned that Q has changed since getting together with Xiomara. He turns down Julian’s sack full of edibles, and is very zen and romantic. He and Xiomara even do a mashup of their names on the program.

The Best Man: The Final Chapters
Photo: Nicolas Cordone/Peacock

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The Best Man: The Final Chapters is a continuation of the story Malcolm D. Lee started in the 1999 film The Best Man and the 2013 film The Best Man Holiday.

Our Take: The advantage that Lee has in bringing back the Best Man franchise is that everyone who was in the first film 23 years ago has gone on to distinguished acting careers. If someone had proposed a series starring any three of the names we wrote in the Gist section, it would be greenlit immediately, but all of them? That’s a no-brainer.

The other advantage is that this group has this near-quarter-century of history, and that chemistry comes through in the first episode. There’s a familiarity and warmth that only comes from a group of actors playing characters that they’ve lived with for a number of years, and they all play off each other well. It also reminds us of just how funny some actors like Perrineau, can be. His goofy, somewhat needy Julian shows a side of him that we haven’t seen much outside of this franchise.

But Lee, who is the co-showrunner with Dayna Lynne North here and directed the first episode, does his best to give these familiar characters new horizons to explore. Jordan is happily single here, for instance, though it seems that she may get some attention from a younger guy at the resort. Also, Lance’s back-and-forth with Jasmine (Yvonna Pearson), the resort’s concierge, indicates that there might be something there.

The wedding is definitely the focus of the first couple of episodes, so we’ll be interested in seeing how this group holds together when they’re all back home, another near-decade has passed, and they’re dealing with everyday stuff. There’s still some remaining feelings from years past mixing in with the changes everyone is looking to make in mid-life, and that’s where the most interesting moments on this series should happen.

Sex and Skin: Most of the actual sex involves Lance, though there’s a moment between Harper and Robyn, as well.

Parting Shot: When the group starts to argue while Q and Xiomara get ring tattoos, Quentin’s father Wellington (Ron Canada) wants to be assured that things will go smoothly. Quentin says it will… right before Shelby shows up.

Sleeper Star: Because we’re unabashed Regina Hall fans, we hope she gets more to do than just cough at some strong sage and complain to Julian about his bald-faced attempts at getting Quentin to make him best man.

Most Pilot-y Line: When the term “sex” comes up at dinner, Candace and Julian’s youngest asks what it is, and Julian says “It’s like a really yummy dessert,” then the girl replies, “Ooh, then can I have sex?” Yikes and double yikes.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Despite the years between sequels, the cast of The Best Man: The Final Chapters is a well-oiled machine, and it shows in this new series.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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