Did we like it?
The League of Gentlewomen set in Royston Vasey-By-The-Sea is at the moment only sporadically amusing; but far more important than just pleading for laughs, it is trying something different from the usual spew of sitcoms that gush forth from the acidic stomach of TV-exec land.
What was good about it?
• While the overall feel of the show is highly derivative of The League of Gentlemen, this is largely because the LOG was so unique, Dogtown is full to bursting with grotesques but they are distinctive from their in-bred cousins in Royston Vasey.
• And it rather mirrors the splendid third series of LOG, in which the piecemeal near-sketch show format of the previous series were jettisoned for more narrative-driven episodes. And while Dogtown does lack the sophistication, there are promising signs.
• The two principal characters featured were Bill, an officious pompous geography teacher who has an interview for the post of deputy head (his seventh), and who refuses to compromise by cutting off his pony tail. And we met a medium who conducts her readings in a bus shelter, but who is forbidden to ride on the buses themselves as she has a habit of setting them alight.
• However, our favourite characters from the first episode were the librarian and her boss who treat a simple case of book defacing as though it was a serial killer on the loose in downtown New York. In response to a couple of romantic novels being scrawled upon, the librarian fears that this is just a distraction to make them think the villain is targeting romantic fiction only and to make them complacent as to the safety of the most valuable book in the library – a tome about pit bulls.
What was bad about it?
• While we were impressed by the efforts to innovate and create a perverse environment for this collection of caricatures, there did seem to be an absence of genuine, caustic humour. However, this can be excused for now because of the need to introduce the characters and for the audience to become accustomed to their foibles and ways.