Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Jonathan Pryce and Mark Gatiss in a new sitcom on BBC3? We sat down in eager anticipation, and 30 minutes later, got up feeling intensely disappointed and frustrated. A high concept plot about a failed experiment to create a super-soldier, three or four good lines and an intrusive laughter track do not add up to a decent new sitcom. This first production from Ash Atalla’s (The Office) new production company was a real disappointment – and Pryce looked embarrassed to be in it.
What was good about it?
• Mark Gatiss as Colonel Black commandeered the vast majority of decent lines - we loved him asking Victor questions then talking over his answers, whilst observing, “You talk too slowly Victor, always have.”
• The opening scene, where Doctor Victor Blenkinsop (Pryce) and his assistant Ian (Oliver Maltman), dressed as shop workers, stride through a Tesco Metro to their underground lab whilst avoiding customers, was probably the funniest scene. Especially the slapstick of the old lady’s zimmer frame flying through the air after Victor has pulled over bottles of lemonade into her path.
What was bad about it?
• Stuart McLoughlin as the inept, wimpy klutz of a clone was intensely irritating from the moment he was introduced.
• Whoever thought a laughter track was a good idea needs shooting. Especially when the laughs coincide with monumentally unfunny lines. All this served to do was highlight how poor the writing was.
• Clearly, the acting budget had been blown on Gatiss and Pryce, as absolutely no-one else was remotely convincing.
In the Flesh: Why we should be shouting about this more
Amid the tremendous bevy of high quality programmes delivered over the past few months – Prey , Happy Valley , From There to Here ...
What to Expect from The Lady Vanishes
Sunday night has long been the home of period drama on BBC One with recent examples being Upstairs Downstairs and Call the Midwife. Thi...
ThecustardTV Podcast: Is Critical too bonkers to enjoy?
In the latest podcast we discuss Sky's glossy new medical drama Critical, find out why Gary is enjoying The Casual Vacancy and Mat...
Does The X Files return give fans what they want?
When The X-Files originally aired in 1993, it opened to generally positive reviews and reception. Still, it would have been difficult t...
Top Gear: Meet the new team
Top Gear returns in a few months and the BBC have finally completed the lineup. Motorsport guru and Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan ...
Happy Valley is back but did it deliver?
I have a confession to make. I only started the first series of Happy Valley on Friday and I finished it last night (Monday). I’m ridiculou...
The TVweek: Sunday 7th - Friday 12th February 2016
Sunday 8.00pm Greece with Simon Reeve BBC2 - In the first episode of this two-part series, Simon Reeve travels from the islands of the Aege...
The TVweek: Sunday 30th January - 5th February 2016
Sunday 7.30pm The Jump Channel 4 - Return of the reality series which sees Over the new few weeks on , 12 celebrities - Dean Cain, Sarah H...