After publishing a rant about 'idiots' - frantically hip, ignorant scenesters - Dan Ashcroft finds these same people embracing him as his idol and his nerves constantly tested by his biggest... Read allAfter publishing a rant about 'idiots' - frantically hip, ignorant scenesters - Dan Ashcroft finds these same people embracing him as his idol and his nerves constantly tested by his biggest fan, moronic scene personality Nathan Barley.After publishing a rant about 'idiots' - frantically hip, ignorant scenesters - Dan Ashcroft finds these same people embracing him as his idol and his nerves constantly tested by his biggest fan, moronic scene personality Nathan Barley.
Watching it now, too much of it is instantly recognizable as manifested in the world we currently call hipsters; a culture where some talent exists but too many are trend-following yaysayers about anything that is seen as cool. Also looking back, it is hardly surprising that it is so brutally harsh on these characters since the show was written by Charlie Brooker – one not known for holding back. And harsh it is as it portrays almost everyone as talentless and clueless but yet supremely confident or numbly stupefied to the whole thing – even those "normal" characters get no grace as they are shown up for their complacency and/or complicity in the whole thing. As an attack on a subculture it doesn't miss its target very often and it is depressing how so much of what it shows has gone on to become almost the norm (wanky art, cruel prank shows, obsessions with trends and being "in", slang terms).
Unfortunately for the show the frame in which this material is put is not as strong as it needed to be. As a sitcom, the series tries to have some structure and indeed we get narrative devices mostly from the characters of Dan and Claire, needing money and/or work and then around this basic structure other things happen. This isn't terrible but for sure it is not as strong as it needed to be for a weekly 6-part comedy and without a real structure or development, it is easy to think that the points it is making are not only the same ones it made at the start but also being made the same way.
The cast go with whatever is asked of them, even if sometimes it is pretty straightforward. Burns doesn't hold anything back and he is indeed a tremendous waste of space with his hollow insecure character and lack of consideration for others around him – he plays it very well throughout. Barratt is also very good as he is the straight man in the cast but at the same time he isn't allowed to just be on the outside. Keelan does what she can with a non-character; she herself is good but the character is not. The supporting cast is (with hindsight) quite incredible as it includes Whishaw, Fielding, Cumberbatch, Sosanya, Eldon and many other faces and names you'll know. Everyone does well with what they have to do, but as before, they are not always rewarding with something that is going somewhere.
It is a show that is worth a watch for what it does very well, but it does have weaknesses in the structure and lack of development and narrative, and these do rather leave the impression that it is doing the same thing in the same way for the duration of the season.
- bob the moo
- Jul 28, 2014