We Recommend: Episodes

Last year, Episodes debuted on BBC2 and Showtime. A UK/US hybrid, it featured popular UK actors Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig as TV writers who take their hit British sitcom across the pond for a remake, only to be lumbered with popular US actor Mat LeBlanc, playing a caricature of himself.

It was a strange series, with a stumbling start. Nonetheless, it’s now back for season two, and we’ve previewed the first new episode.

image
The first year took a few weeks to get going, suffering from some lame humour and a few characters who felt quite two-dimensional, but by the end, as the three lead characters established a strange dysfunctional unit, it had become a fun weekly appointment.

Matt LeBlanc’s performance, self-deprecating without being cartoonish, was a highlight, and he’s still on good form. Mangan and Greig are more comfortable in their parts, finally, and there’s some fun with TV reviews that may or may not be a jab at the response to Episodes itself.

Yes, all the American characters except LeBlanc are thin, but there is effort to make a few (mostly Carol and Morning) more bright and self-aware. Clearly, Chief TV Exec Merc is always going to be a joke.

It does seem odd that they’ve made a whole sitcom sending up Matt LeBlanc, yet never mention the failed Joey spin-off, but that could be a clause in his contract. The one place they may never go.

In short: if you stuck with Episodes through last season and found, like I did, that it became a lot better by the end, you’ll be pleased to hear it has not gone backwards. Also, the budget has gone up, or they’re more adept at working within it, because I didn’t find myself thinking “Wow, that looks cheap” anywhere near as often. A decent return.

Episodes airs Fridays at 10PM on BBC Two starting tonight. More details on the official BBC site.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Latest Articles