Around here, this series was advertised as a political comedy with BBC insiders laughing at themselves. After all, it follows a group of BBC television reporters chasing stories in a fictional African state where US forces are conducting operations. The political dimensions pretty much dwindle away after the pilot, however, and the episodes concentrate on the group's internal rivalry and desperate quests for big scoops, with some standard asides, like a bit of the old vying between British smugness and American arrogance.
The group's composition is pretty conventional: an egotistical star reporter past his prime; a stressed producer; a put upon rookie desperate for a chance; and a comically emotional chubby veteran. The locals are portrayed largely by the textbook, as more emotionally honest, sensible or just clever compared to the silly Westerners running around their country with little clue and too much currency, though the writers also cannot quite resist exploiting the old clichés about African mysticism. Some of their jokes are surprisingly old-fashioned, too, or perhaps they were too inside for an outsider like me. There is still a lot to enjoy here, particularly the macabre jokes like the minefield scenario in the pilot, and the cast are impeccable.
Perhaps series two might have improved upon things, but it seems that not enough people laughed with the writers. I wonder if they had to face their characters' worst nightmare, getting demoted to radio...
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