Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Episodes: Sneak Preview Review

Hey, I caught the delightful complete debut season - seven 30-minute episodes - of Episodes, to start on Showtime, Sunday, January 9, courtesy of a Showtime advance screener.   If you're in the mood for a deft, daft mix of classic droll British humor and California fine ass funny - which, come to think of it, I always am - you'll love Episodes.

The basic story: the creators/writers of a successful comedy show in the UK are brought over and out to California to recreate their series right here in the USA.   The creators are a young, happily married, breezily and often profoundly witty couple.   You know that they won't be in for smooth sailing over here, just by looking at the opening credits (one of the best I've seen in a while), which feature a manuscript picked up in the wind in England, winging its way to California, only to be shot down right over the big white Hollywood sign.

Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greg, two relative little knowns here in the States, play the "lucky" British couple Sean and Beverly Lincoln, and they're excellent.   Trouble starts pretty much as soon as they're told that the British actor who played the lead in their comedy will be replaced by an American - none other than Matt LeBlanc, who plays himself, and delivers a performance every bit as a good or better than Joey from Friends.  Indeed, the script makes satisfying, explicit reference to all manner of Joeyisms, including at least one on which the somewhat surprise ending hinges.  (I saw it coming, but still loved it.)

Even the secondary characters are striking - Daisy Haggard as Myra Licht doesn't say much but makes some of the best blond faces you'll ever see, and Mircea Monroe as Morning is luscious (well, maybe more a primary than secondary character).

But really nothing about this comedy is secondary.   If you like laughs a minute, sarcasm to the max about both American and British popular culture, Episodes will be just your cup of tea - or coffee.

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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