10 O'Clock Live: Series 3 - Early Review
Last week, Channel 4 brought back 10 O'Clock Live, their peppy all-star satire series. Considering this is a British show, they've done an admirable job of holding onto their talent: Lauren Laverne, David Mitchell, Charlie Brooker and Jimmy Carr are present and correct for the third year running, ready to take on injustice and silly news stories with only their voices and the occasional Powerpoint slide.
So, after some awkward steps in the right direction last year, what further changes has series three brought?
Regime Change - Is It Funny?Like many of the regimes they make fun of, 10 O'Clock Live started off trying to run as a democracy, giving every member of the team a decent chance to be solo-funny. Last year, we saw them scale down the solo segments and increase the role of the roundtables, which I was basically in favour of - with the exception of Brooker and Mitchell's, none of the solo segments were amazing, and the armchair-producer army on the internet seemed to agree with me, whereas the roundtables were usually amusing at the very least.
Well, based on the first episode of the new series, they've taken it even further this time and ditched all of the solo bits, except for one monologue a week by Brooker and the roundtable interviews by Mitchell. We'll have to wait and see whether this is the firm template going forward, but can we cautiously say... no more Jimmy Carr dressing up? Could it be? Because those sketches really weren't great.
TV Development - Survival Of The Bestest?Maybe it isn't a feedback-based decision - perhaps he decided to cut them out after one of those skits caused him trouble during his tax scandal, but either way, not complaining. Still, with almost all the side-segments gone, the show is hugely focused on the four of them sitting around a table - basically, it's now a televised podcast. I like podcasts, but I did find myself wishing they had another segment to cut to - even though I've just said I'm fine with them destroying all their other ideas as they weren't really working.
I suspect I'm a hard viewer to please. Anyway, if you like this show's sense of humour (broadly similar to the topical wisecracks on Twitter, only slightly better and with a Charlie Brooker monologue), you'll be pleased to see 10 O'Clock Live back - there's still something awkward about it, but at least they're trying to improve. Maybe we'll see some more format experimenting as it goes along. Or perhaps Jimmy Carr's fancy dress costumes for the first episode were damaged in the wash and they'll be back full force in tonight's second one - can't wait to find out!
10 O'Clock Live airs on Channel 4 Wednesdays, you might be able to guess the time slot. More details on Channel 4 official 10 O'Clock Live site, and the first episode is up on 4OD. Can we have the David Mitchell solo rant segment back please?