Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Mitchell And Webb Situation

BBC2 have just finished rerunning The Mitchell And Webb Situation (the title having been suggested by Robert Ludlum), a TV sketch show that essentially became That Mitchell And Webb Sound on Radio Four and then That Mitchell And Webb Look on BBC2 again.

It's strange. It's very clearly Mitchell and Webb. You could tell that from a transcript: many of the ideas are ones that turn up in their later work and there's a lot of the clever poking of fun at ridiculous aspects of life that sets the pair apart from the catchphrase monkeys who make drivel like Little Britain. And it's very funny, technically, I think. It just doesn't make me laugh.

I can't watch That Mitchell And Webb Look without laughing. It's too good. But this I can. I watch a sketch, and I can see the joke, and it's clever, and I get the point, but there isn't the big impact punchline you get in their later work. It's like the it's entirely comprised of sketches rejected from the new show because nobody could quite make them work properly.

Quite interesting to watch, though. I feel like I've learned something about how comedy develops.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Heroes is back!

...And with it, Sylar, the most redundant baddie in TV history!

Sylar is a great character -- he's a murderous psychopath, but the writers have still gone to the bother of fleshing him out properly, with motives and consistent weaknesses and everything else that excites Greg Grunberg so much. And yet, he's never really used. In the first series he was always there, being a threat, but the nuclear bomb was a bigger threat. In the second, he played second fiddle to a deadly virus, and this year it looks like a large explosion, a troupe of even mentaller people, and a crazy Patrelli from a future that might not be the future.

This is arguably a waste of a good baddie, but that's why Heroes is great -- they come up with enough great stuff to fill the series, then they come up with a bunch of extra great stuff and put that in too. And then they do it again for the next series. And let's face it: we've not lost anything -- as if any of the hacks on other shows would use him any better.