Review – The Mimic (Channel 4)

Review – The Mimic (Channel 4)

the-mimic

Really enjoyed this. It was billed as “a heart-warming comedy series” and that’s actually how I experienced it. It centres on the fortunes of Martin Hurdle (played by comic Terry Mynott), an everyday maintenance man with an uncanny ability to mimic voices. He’s in a dead end job (site maintenance at a pharma company) and in the first episode, he finds out he may be a father from a much earlier relationship; he meets his potential ‘son’ and they have a paternity test. I am not familiar with Terry Mynott but there is something of the ‘every man’ about him that is appealing.

I don’t tend to watch a lot of comedy but this was good. Reminded me (oddly?) of Being Human on BBC3. Quirky, unusual, but with characters that you warm to. The other main point of comparison is that it, too, is a real hybrid; it’s not a sitcom – but it’s inherently funny.

I did like the characters – the friend, the son, the co-worker – and especially the newsagent! Made me smile. I don’t find a lot on TV that is genuinely ‘heart warming’ but this worked for me so far (and I wasn’t even planning to watch it).

More info.

Don’t stop believin’!

A phenomenon in the US, Glee follows an optimistic secondary school teacher as he attempts to inspire an oddball group of students to realise their star potential and restore the school’s show choir – the glee club – to its former glory. In the pilot episode, teacher Will Schuester – or Mr Schu – begs the headteacher – Principal Figgins – to let him take on the Herculean task of transforming this group of underdogs into a world-class vocal ensemble. Source: E4

So I finally saw the first episode of Glee which has just premièred here in the UK. One of the most anticipated US imports of recent times opening with unanimously strong reviews. Really really good. Funny, uplifting, satirical, darkly comical. Loving it!

Guardian review:

After teasing with the pilot last month, E4 finally launches the full series of Glee with a glorious double bill. It fully deserves all the praise that’s been flung at it in recent months, with Broadway-calibre performances, a triumph-of-the-losers drive and one of the best villains ever to appear on TV in the form of acidic cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (“You think this is hard? Try waterboarding. That’s hard!”). Tonight, glee club is formed, spirits are lifted and Sue tries her hardest to ruin it for everyone. Source.

Radio Times review:

Ashamed at being more addicted to High School Musical than your kids are? Let your jazz hands flutter freely with this instantly adorable American series. It adds a tart, grown-up script to the finger-clickin’ joy of plucky, white-toothed wannabes putting on a show against the odds. An idealistic young teacher with nice curly hair wants to revive the school musical-theatre group. Can he and his ragbag of shiny hopefuls overcome the mockery of the jocks, the bitter envy of the prom queens, and their own self-doubt to win some sort of singing competition? On the adult emotional drama front, can the teacher square his lingering creative dreams with the nesting urges of his horrid, cardboard wife? Glee could easily collapse under the weight of its high-school archetypes, but this pilot episode (the second instalment follows at 6:35pm) makes them all minty fresh. Swift, sharp, witty, romantic and filled with fabulous Fame-y set pieces, it manages to simultaneously celebrate and satirise the passion of born performers. It’s got a hundred 100W bulbs on it, spelling out the word “hit”. Source.

Telegraph review:

Part of me is enraptured, and part enraged, by the transcendental experience that is Glee, the new television series on E4. Everything about it is irresistible – it’s set in an American high school, with great music, lots of pretty people and surprisingly good jokes.

But the discovery of this thing they call the glee club has been deeply painful. They’ve been enjoying them in the US all this time, and no one told us? We’ve given them so much – pilgrims, independence, a language, The Office – and they never found time to export the glee club to schools over here. Would it really have hurt them? Source.

More about Glee on E4’s website.

UK residents can watch again on 4oD.

True Blood

I really enjoyed True Blood which premièred on Channel 4 this evening. From the director of Six Feet Under – this is just the type of US import that I’m predisposed to enjoy – like Mad Men, Sopranos or Damages. It’s adult drama – not for the masses (unlike Flash Forward, which is). It’s full of filthy language (much of it in southern drawl), illicit sex and also violence. It’s gritty, colourful and above all – absorbing. And it reminded me of our own home-grown vampire drama, Being Human, made by the BBC last year – which I enjoyed.

True Blood is much better and has far more appeal than the dumbed-down, cliché-ridden Flash Forward which has also just started on UK tv, of which I’ve seen the first two episodes. That had wooden, stereotyped and politically correct characters that just feel really bland and anodyne – especially compared with this. Sure – the plot and premise are good – but the acting isn’t.

I’m now really looking forward to the next episode. If you didn’t catch it – it’s set in the present-day Deep South – vampires live alongside humans. It’s the kind of thing that’s not quite so easy to describe; you have to watch it. More on HBO’s site.