Dubuque quickly gives us a strong ensemble of city folk and hicks, innocents and thugs. The overall vibe of the show is suspenseful, but there are small pockets of comedy usually found in the behavior of the locals.
Ozark can be excruciatingly cumbersome. There are many moving parts, none compelled to move with haste. If the characters were more engaging and likable, pace might not even be an impediment. They're not, so it is.
Ozark does most things right. Not every plot point feels completely plausible, but the show looks good and plays well; the writing is crisp and not too colorful; the performances are unforced and believable.
Bateman, better known for comedies such as Arrested Development, unleashes a frank blue stare that could mean anything from menace to guile to idiocy. His lack of readability keeps things fresh and unpredictable as nasty shocks unfold.
There's nothing special to report about Ozark. It's not the risk taking drama Netflix might believe it to be. If crime drama is your thing, the show is worth a look. But, it's not going to appeal to anyone outside the genre's demographic.
The main reason why Ozark, the new Netflix series, feels so underpowered has to do with its star, Jason Bateman (who also directs): a good actor who badly wants for charisma, he simply can't carry it alone.