Season 6: More than good enough to bring back the original fans for more
Following on from the retrospective "documentary" clip show and the Christmas special, the absurdist game-show Shooting Stars returned to our screens again. Having watched the Christmas special I was not entirely sure that this was a good idea and, although I was very much a fan of it during the 90's it did take me some months to finally get around to actually watching the episodes I had recorded. What I found was a season that pretty much wiped away the passage of time and mostly felt as fresh and as funny as it originally was. Those that didn't get the sense of humour the first times round need not apply but those that did will find this new season to be nearly as good as they remember.
I say nearly because there are some problems with it and most of them are in the "new" material. It was a wise decision to seek out new things to replace some of the original running gags while also retaining the catchphrases that work the best. For example the "tumbleweed" is gone but is replaced by Vic demanding Bob retell a joke he didn't get over and over; I pick this example because I didn't think that this was worthy of being repeated as a routine but also the "new boobs" bit is another. Of course to counter that we have some funny running gags that have been added such as playing music to cheer up Jack but the most effective new addition is the "guest" Angelos Epithemiou, a locally famous burger van owner. The show always was about the regulars more than the guests so it is no problem to have another team member essentially being part of the presentation and he is a very funny character marvellously odd in the same way that all of them are.
Vic and Bob do their stuff with great vigour and energy and they really lead the show while Matt Lucas is almost always hilarious with his short lines and songs. Ulrike takes the insults in good humour and sits better in the show than Jack Dee, who continues to just play the "grumpy" card without bringing more to proceedings in the way that the similarly grumpy Lamaar and Self did when they had that seat. The various guests are mostly good sports who mostly seem caught off guard by it all even though they must be familiar with it by now. My personal favourite was former Sugababe Mutya Buena who failed to recognise a lamb by feeling it through a hole in a piece of wooden board but yet managed to recognise a shepherd's pie in the same situation. Outside of her there aren't really any weak guests there are those that are edited down to almost nothing though, which suggests they may have been poor but at least post-production sorted that out.
Overall, the return of Shooting Stars is funny enough and fresh enough to justify it being back. Much of the material is of the same root but it still works even if some of the new running gags do not. It will not win over those that have never gotten Reeves & Mortimer's sense of humour but it is more than good enough to bring the original fans back for more.
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