Episodes is an unusual comedy series. Created and written by two Americans, but made in the UK by the BBC, with Matt LeBlanc playing a fictionalised version of himself. Series 2, like Series 1, is funny, engaging and intelligent.
In Series 1 (see my review) husband-and-wife writing team, Beverly and Sean Lincoln, are lured to LA to make a US pilot of their hit British television series Lyman’s Boys. Weighed down by the US system, they find their show changed beyond recognition, with Matt LeBlanc in the starring role. Series 1 ended with Beverly and Sean splitting up and their pilot being given the go-ahead for a series.
The eight episodes of Series 2 revolve around the making of the series and the repercussions of its falling ratings. But the thrust of Episodes is very much the characters and their relationships — particularly the relationship between Beverly and Sean.
The characters of Episodes are very much flawed human beings. Often exaggerated, they are still somehow believable and yes, even likeable. All the actors give excellent performances. Even the minor characters are imbued with quirks and characteristics that make them memorable. Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan’s hapless writing couple are the core of the show. They both deliver strong, sympathetic performances — you can’t help but want them and their relationship to succeed. But as with Series 1, Matt LeBlanc steals the show. Even though he is playing an unreal, exaggerated version of himself, it is cleverly rooted in reality, using elements of his actual life/self to make the fiction believable.
I found Series 2 more engaging than Series 1, mostly because I was already invested in the lives of these characters when it started. I’m very much hoping for a third series.
The DVD release is disappointing as it is completely devoid of any extra features.
Episodes is released on DVD in Australia by Roadshow Entertainment.
Catch ya later, George
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