Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Irreviews: British Television, Issue II

More British shows for you to check out (or not):

Misfits (2009-present, 2 series, 17 episodes)
Starring: Robert Sheehan, Iwan Rheon, Lauren Socha, Antonia Thomas, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
For those of you who still have a bad taste in their mouths from Heroes, look no further. Misfits takes the accidental superheroes theme and runs full-sprint with it. Deep, layered characterizations combined with top-notch writing, and you'll never bother with "save the cheerleader" again. As implied, the series isn't entirely original, but its execution earns its kudos (although the series 2 finale left something to be desired...).
Verdict: SEE it. Quite simply one of the best sci-fi series ever.

Smack the Pony (1999-2003, 3 series, 21 episodes + 2 specials)
Starring: Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan, Sally Phillips, Sarah Alexander, Darren Boyd
Not only decidedly British, but decidedly British woman, Smack the Pony is a skit show that takes some time to find its footing (almost losing this viewer in the process), but ultimately turns into a solid source of laughs.
Verdict: SEE it, but you might want to skim the first series.

That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006-present, 4 series, 24 episodes)
Starring: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, James Bachman
Ridiculous, inane, irreverent... and all from the guys who bring you Peep Show. Another skit show from the land of awesome skit shows, That Mitchell and Webb Look is top-notch, top-tier, and a laugh riot.
Verdict: SEE it.

Ultimate Force (2002-2006, 4 series, 21 episodes)
Starring: Ross Kemp, Jamie Draven, Miles Anderson, Alex Reid, Danny Sapani, Jamie Bamber, Tony Curran
This show is, no doubt, one of the inspirations for the American series, The Unit. However, where The Unit never really found balance between action and character, the first two series' of Ultimate Force hit the nail on the proverbial head. Quite possibly the best special operations-oriented television show in history... for its first two series, that is. A ghastly decision by the showrunners to reformat into a more action-oriented spectacle resulted in one of the worst special operations-oriented television shows in history. It's no wonder a huge portion of the cast quit after series two (seriously... four of the six regulars took off).
Verdict: The first two series... SEE it. SKIP the rest.

Ultraviolet (1998, 1 series, 6 episodes)
Starring: Jack Davenport, Susannah Harker, Idris Elba, Philip Quast, Colette Brown, Fiona Dolman
An interesting take on vampires, it's one part police procedural and one part conspiracy theory. It's clear there was an attempt to be scientific/forensic concerning vampirism, but there are far too many "magical explanations" that keep the wall of disbelief up. Still, it's different enough to be worth a look, and the appearance of Stephen Moyer as a vampire (nearly a decade before True Blood) will probably garner interest among True Blood fans.
Verdict: If you need a vampire fix, SEE it.


  1. I was so, so disappointed last night now that I have access to my bro's Foxtel that there were hardly any decent British dramas or comedy shows available. Smack the Pony's getting a bit old now but the Mitchell and Webb Look and Peepshow are fun although I haven't the stamina to watch quite as regularly as you. Haven't seen the dramas advertised at all. Damn barbaric country that I live in. Frankly if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't even have watched those on the PC. So thanks for that.

  2. Uh... Never heard of any of them. I'll look for them. BBCA maybe?