The cross-over between media formats frequently attract responses such as ‘it wasn’t as good as the book’ or ‘the game just doesn’t quite capture the experience of the movie’; but ‘we preferred the podcast to the cartoon’ is definitely a new one!
All credit to Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant for attempting something new and groundbreaking because that’s what they (usually) do best. However, just because they handed over their critically acclaimed and hugely popular podcast and audio book series for animation, doesn’t mean it has the right or the ability to turn to gold.
Knowing Gervais and Merchant’s reputations as notoriously hard workers and enthusiasm in their craft, it is likely that they had a high level of involvement with the production and animation of this programme. But instead, this isn’t apparent, the finished product appears lazy, shoddy and rushed-and will inevitably remain as the weak link in their long line of successful works.
As listeners to the original podcasts, we can honestly testify that they were always an enjoyable listen. Part of why they worked so perfectly was the podcast format. They are immensely travel friendly, half an hour of light hearted and surreal debates from the guys, make for great company. So perhaps the Gervais camp didn’t bare this in mind when they expected a mass Friday night audience to stare at cartoon avatars re-enact these same conversations for thirty minutes; this was then made worse by Channel 4 screening two episodes, so was therefore an hour of animated nonsense!
This show is obviously reserved for dedicated Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington followers, but to add insult to injury, they too are kicked in the nads by the fact that they are witnessing content that they are likely to have already downloaded!
In terms of dialogue, Gervais and Merchant are on good quick witted form. Whereas Karl Pilkington’s legendary status keeps us baffled. Who the hell is he? And does he realise that people are laughing at him as oppose to with? Because at points, his colleagues’ comments to him sounded like plain old bullying.
Overall, a poor effort from the Ricky Gervais camp, that results in awkward viewing as well as the general feeling that you are listening to something recorded a good while ago, a two fingered salute to many Gervais supporters. The worst thing about the series is that it didn’t really need to happen in the first place. As previously stated the podcasts were brilliant as they were so if you did find yourself chuckling treat yourself to the podcasts and let your imagination do the rest.. I gaurntee it’ll look better than the slap dash animation here.