|Index||9 reviews in total|
Spy is insanely funny. Whereas another fantastic spy farce, Archer, is
prototypically American (what with the over-the-top gadgetry, lewdness
and macho stuff), Spy is equally British (compact, driven by small
inflections and absurdities, and politely biting). Spy is rife with the
comedic mechanism of interruptive dialogue where characters finish each
others sentences or over-speak creating confusion and misdirection --
some intended, some not. It takes careful listening to stay with the
dialogue and it's in the subtlety of the delivery that the funniest
lines are spoken.
Jude Wright is brilliant as the über-intelligent and resentful son of the main character, Tim. Tim, portrayed with superb comedic timing by Darren Boyd, is an affably charming man of small wit and large misfortune. And for us, the scenes with Robert Lindsay's zany character, MI-5's examiner, are the gems of the show.
For comedic value, Spy is a 10 to us. Flaws abound in any program, but a rare show like Spy makes one not care. As far as we know Spy is not running for any particular comedic championship. It's just an easy going ride through hilarity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The basic premise for this rather enjoyable, silly and enjoyably silly
spy spoof series is as follows: Tim (played by the ever-excellent
Darren Boyd) is a single father with a wickedly smart (but mostly
wicked) young son, who is always looking up at his father as if he were
looking down on him - an attitude helped created in no small part by
his mother (Tim's ex-wife). No matter how much Tim may try to impress
his son, he is always a loser to his ex-wife...and Phil, who always
happens to be there. And so, with a little extra "help" from his
nigh-on sociopathic (and only) friend and work colleague at the
computer store where they work, Tim decides to quit his job and move on
to greener pastures, and try to improve his life. Which then leads to a
job interview for what Tim believes is a job that has something to do
with civil servants. Unfortunately, Tim is the only one who thinks
this, as his interviewers - particularly The Examiner (played by a
somewhat grizzled Robert Lindsay) - think that Tim knows he has come to
be interviewed for a job at MI5... And from then on, hilarity ensues as
it is sure to do.
The pleasure that comes from this show is finding out that the presumptions you might make about the characters and the story of the show are mostly proved to be wrong. The main character who is nice but dim, and constantly finds himself in ridiculous situations, mostly not of his fault? Almost. He IS nice, and he may not be terribly smart, but what becomes clear quite early on is that although everyone else around him may be - or may act - smarter than him, they are all actually the stupid ones, who are blinded by their own smartness and think that everything is happening exactly as they think it is. (The Examiner is the biggest culprit in doing this.) Whereas Tim - with his awkward, meek, bemused, but always amiable persona - seems to be the only one who is making any sense and acting perfectly normal. And what about the son, who is older than his years, precocious, smart and all that jazz? Yes, this SHOULD be annoying, but the young actor (who, incidentally, looks remarkably like Kevin Bishop) who plays the son is quite adept at handling all the big words and biting insults he throws out at such a rapid and sharply enunciated pace. And what becomes annoying about this character isn't the fact that he's the tried-and-tested trope of being "older than his years," but that his character has clearly been manipulated by his mother's spite towards the son's father into acting almost exactly like her, and that he treats everyone but his mother and...*sigh*...Phil with utter contempt. He is - as Tim's friend says early on - a bit of a dick. And as for Robert Lindsay's portrayal of The Examiner - he is simply a buffoon. How he got to become the boss of everyone that we see in MI5 herein is completely baffling. Harry Pearce he is NOT. Here, The Examiner is a man enamoured with spy novels and movies - preferring fiction over fact, and fantasy over reality - who has seemingly no grasp of what MI5 actually does and is mostly concerned with the gadgets and the guns and flinging his throwing stars around with major aplomb. He always has a demented twinkle in his eyes, and is disturbingly rather taken with his new recruit, Tim. Henceforth, he is a brilliant comic creation, meaning Robert Lindsay is at his absolute best. Forget "My Family"...he's back to "Citizen Smith" standards once again. Overall, the pace of the show is quick and sweet, and the humour is rapid-fire and highly witty, with a side of delicious awkwardness. (If you've seen Darren Boyd's appearance as Dave Wellbeck in "Twenty Twelve," you'll know that he is superbly gifted at creating cringe-worthy awkwardness that rivals anything from "Curb Your Enthusiasm".) So, if you're looking for a spy spoof comedy that's actually really really funny, and can be appreciated by adults as well as children, then forget the dross that was and is Johnny English. "Spy" is what J.E. should have always been, and more so...
Spy is so insanely underrated as a show that it's not even funny (at
least in the United States). Thankfully, that's the only thing that
isn't funny because the show itself is absolutely hilarious. The first
series introduces the hapless but well-meaning Tim, his scheming best
friend, his idiosyncratic MI5 coworkers, his ex and her besotted
boyfriend, and his precocious son Marcus. The second series deepens and
broadens the characters and turns some early misconceptions on their
One of the most entertaining things about Spy is that it manages to be both an excellent spy spoof, in the manner of the also-underrated "Chuck," and an unexpectedly touching domestic sitcom. As with other British shows in a similar vein, it's obvious that Spy's stars are not phoning in their performances at all. In particular, Darren Boyd gives a performance absolutely deserving of his Bafta win, and Jude Wright strikes exactly the right tone as his genius son.
Spy is witty, intelligent, funny, and consistently engaging. No show is perfect, but there's so much to love that it might as well be.
I really enjoy this show on so many levels. I think the best thing I
can say is this- it entertains me, never bores me, it brings me
happiness and joy. The actors are all excellent truly gifted.
Sometimes I just want a show that helps to take away an awful day and this show is an excellent escape.
Timing, content, characters all come together to ensure a great time. The shows writing staff must be terribly talented. They never go over the top the "joke" is never overdone or lacking.
The timing is perfect and delivered by actors that seem to just naturally pull it off and get it right every time. No great problems solved, no preaching, no motive except to just do it all perfectly and to the enjoyment of the viewer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The show has what would seem a simple premise: a divorced father wants custody of his extremely precocious son. And then everything gets bent. Darren Boyd, who plays Tim, signs up for what he believes is a civil service position but he actually gets hired to be a spy for MI-5. While his character mostly plays it straight, everyone else is crazy. Robert Lindsay as the head spymaster is so far over the top, his characterization becomes absurdly ridiculous but at the same time even more real. And that is true for the rest of the cast as well. And it is that craziness that makes the show hold together incredibly well. Rebekah Stanton provides some sex appeal as Caitlin, female agent; Dolly Wells as Boyd's ex-wife is perfect as the wife who wants a different life but whose choices make you wonder; Tom Goodman Hill (Philip 20110 and Mark Heap )Philip 2012) are excellent as Wells' potential future husband. Terence Maynard plays a CIA agent who fits in perfectly as a temp assigned to MI-5 and is Stanton's previous love interest and Boyd's rival. And Jude Wright, Marcus, will make you wonder about childhood and impress you with his acting. Every episode does flow from the previous one and each just keeps on stretching the envelope providing continued laughs. Catch this on Hulu. You want to see the original as there is some noise about exporting this an American reboot which would be a shame. No way can anyone catch the believable absurdity of the original cast.
I just viewed the first episode of this series on WLIW-21/Channel 21 in
New York City. I decided to record it on my DVR based on the synopsis
provided by Time Warner Cable and also because it followed another
program that I love, The Cafe.
I tend to love British TV but did not know what to expect from Spy, and was truly amazed at the solid character development, brilliant acting and the witty storyline. I literally had just finished viewing a limited HBO series, Doll & Em, which starred Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer, and decided to look at Spy. I did not know Ms. Wells was a part of the Spy cast.
I am so glad that I recorded this episode of Spy. I laughed repeatedly and was riveted to all of the characters. Darren Boyd and Jude Wright are excellent as father and son, and their supporting cast is superb as well.
This program will be on my list of must-see shows to watch on PBS and I look forward to recommending it to my other friends who enjoy smart, fantastic and entertaining television from the United Kingdom.
If you love Quirky, British, Family Dramadey..... You will LOVE this UK show SPY. Get through the Pilot and you will be wanting more. Just like typical British flare at first glance it comes off as pompous and insincere, stick with it and by Episode 2 you care about about the family and it's wacky friends. Also they play off a lot of American current events and sayings so the writers "cross the pond" so to speak. I was sad when I ran through all of the episode, it defiantly left me wanting more. The only child Marcus Elliot played by Jude Wright is for lack of a better word BRILLIANT. The funniest show I have seen so far.....
As the summary declares, I love British comedies! It is my current understanding that SPY was not renewed for another season. I am not quite certain, but I hope that I am incorrect. Once I discovered this program, I watched all episodes of Season I and II via the internet. I wasn't sure that I would like it, but by episode 2 of Season I, I fell in love with it! I believe that the writers actually were able to bring the characters along with each episode. By the end of Season II, I wanted (want!) more. I would like to see where the characters and relationships would (will!) go. I saw growth in the relationship between Tim and Marcus and hoped that things would only get better between them. Some of the situations I can live without. The crazy behavior of the first therapist (name?) and then the second therapist - Owen is it? That whole situation featuring the custody battle for Marcus and what a mother would do to gain said custody. Overlooking this part of the series, I still love British comedies and hope they bring this back with the same cast! Loved the Examiner and all the characters within MI5!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I too love British comedies....too bad this isn't one of them. What an absolute piece of shite.....wasted actors like Robert Lindsey propel this completely ridiculous spy-farce to new lows in entertainment. Whipped by his unlovely ex-wife and his unbelievably obnoxious son, our hero stumbles into a job as a spy working for MI5. The premise was fine and many a great comedy has been built on less potential but it all falls apart in comedy the likes I have not witnessed since a pie in the face was the height of great laughs. By episode 2 the annoying son and a homeless bum he accidentally hurt and then saved is living with them and together with the son, rule his life. It never gets any better than this and the thin humour spins itself into a well of forced dumb situations. How Mr Lindsey was talked into this garbage is well beyond me but be assured, I have consigned the 2 seasons to the bin where, hopefully, they will never see the light of day. Don't waste your time or money on this wannabee comedy.
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