I always thought that I'd be moved to write my first review on IMDb because a movie/TV show was so amazing I'd have to share my feelings on it. Alas, twas not to be. I've just finished watching the 6 episodes of this reboot, I'm utterly disappointed and more than a little annoyed.
Other reviewers are right to mention that sometimes a person can like an original so much that any replication of it will never come close in their eyes. There may be a little of that coming into play with me, but I tried to keep an open mind when I started episode one having heard little else about this production other than it was being made, and who the PM would be. When I realised who was writing it I began to get excited, perhaps some of the magic of the original would find its way into this modern version, but then I noticed that this version was based on the play and not the original radio/TV show which I found curious. I've never seen any stage productions of Yes Minister/Prime Minister but assumed that if it was using something close to the original scripts and was going in a similar direction then it would surely come close to the high standard set in the 1980's. After seeing Gold's reboot of it I'm not as sure! The acting is laughable in all the wrong ways, the casting was all wrong; Zoe Telford does a poor job in her role, the modern Sir Appleby isn't convincing enough to play the role of Hackers nemesis, and the guy they cast for Bernard just looks terribly out of place. Haig does an OK job as Prime Minister I guess, but was still a source of annoyance for me. Overacting, poorly delivered lines, bad camera work, rehashed gags and the overall plot of the six episodes all came together to make for one hell of an insult to the original cast and fans.
I find it bizarre that the producers of the reboot didn't notice this, or even some of the programme directors at Gold. I can only assume that they may not have been as familiar with the original as they thought, that or they were trying to distance themselves from the original in an effort to modernise it for today's audience. If this was the case then I believe it was a huge error to take yesterdays characters and put them into today's world, it just didn't work, even giving the rehashed characters new identities may have made it more bearable for me. When the conditions are right a show can be timeless. Perfect casting, natural acting, quality writing and respect for its audience. The original Yes Minister show had all these things. The relationship between Jim Hacker and Humphry Abbleby was nothing less than genius, the two actors played so perfectly off each other it never gets old. In all of the episodes that were released I never once thought that any character that made an appearance, no matter how small, was out of place or unnecessary, they all brought something to the plot that made it that little bit funnier and more plausible. Each and every story in the original could be applied to today and still be relevant; the relationship between politicians and the civil service will never change, there's always some country somewhere in crisis, always under the table deals going on at national level, still the same old frictions within the EU.....The problem with the reboot is that they took the characters from the original but none of the quality, and seemed to spend more time trying to make Hackers character look like a buffoon than trying to be humorous overall. Hacker was never an idiot, he mightn't have been at Appleby's level intellectually, something which Appleby delighted in quite often, but an idiot he was not.
In short, if you are a fan of the original I wouldn't recommend this show, give the original another spin instead, something which I will be doing after posting this. If you've never seen the original then make sure you watch that first, watching this failed attempt first could ruin it for you.
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