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Tuesday, 2 February 2021

REVIEW: Dead Pixels deserves a better platform

It’s an irrefutable, scientific fact that a show is good if Charlotte Ritchie is in it. Fresh from her success in.. well, bloody everything, the second series of Dead Pixels arrived to dispel January and Lockdown gloom. Charlotte plays Alison, long-suffering housemate to gamer geeks Meg and Nicky. So far, so standard flatshare sitcom? Thankfully, most of the show is spent in an imaginary online world under the guise of a game called Kingdom Scrolls rather than their strangely tidy but dull home. However hard they may try to escape the real world, the truth is that domesticity creeps unrelentingly into their fantasy land. Divided by a wall, they converse (well, bicker) about work and friendships while performing to fish people with man legs or slaying innocent cows. The undercurrent of any tiny bit of sexual tension the pair may have spills over as pixelated dry humping *MAKES CONTINUOUS RETCHING NOISES*

The show’s success isn’t just down to Ritchie though. Writer Jon Brown has an embarrassment of riches on his CV including Mongrels, Peep Show, Fresh Meat and Succession. Here he has used his personal passion for gaming and produced a cynical, filthy love letter to it. As someone who’s last games console was an N64 I confidently predict that you don’t have to worry about the in-jokes. Then there’s Alexa Davies who plays the misguided confidence of Meg beautifully. Will Merrick’s Nicky is an unsuccessful version of James Acaster from a parallel universe. These people are not good at life. It’s questionable if they’re even good at Kingdom Scrolls. Dim-witted dancing playmate Russel (David Mumeni) is definitely bad at both and a permanent but hilarious annoyance. Making up the team is Usman (Sargon Yelda) the pilot who doesn’t fly, offering dubious words of wisdom from his cupboard,

Which begs the question, why is Dead Pixels tucked away on The Big Bang Theory Channel? Some people refer to it as E4. While comparisons to Peep show are understandable this is a unique show that’s lovingly crafted with quickfire writing and strong performances. Promote it. Sell it. Be proud of it. There was critical acclaim for the first run but there is a hollow feeling this won’t find the bigger audience it deserves. Television is a very confused world right now. Some shows go weekly, some shows are put up as a boxset immediately and it is difficult to get the balance right when there is so much content. Look at us. Spooning all this delicious content into our mouths. NOM NOM NOM NOM. Content. Content. Content! If Friday Night Dinner can gain a large following from showing at primetime on a, yes you guessed it, Friday night then so can Dead Pixels. Tuesday nights at 10pm on E4? That’s a bit rubbish, isn’t it? TV executives, Meg is scowling at you. Oh no, sorry, that’s just her face.

Contributed by Michael Lee

          Dead Pixels airs Tuesdays at 10.00pm on E4 or is available in full on ALL4

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