Monday, May 18, 2015

Nine lives

It's taken a while, but I've finally finished catching up on the second series of Inside No. 9. Better than the first (which was very good indeed in its own right)? Possibly.

As before, each episode was a self-contained story bearing no relation to any others in the series - the only connecting thread being that the action takes place at No. 9. That could be a house, of course - but it could also be a call centre or a couchette car.

The subject matter and tone was as varied as the location, ranging from farcical romp ('The Trial Of Elizabeth Gadge') to campy gothic horror ('Seance Time') to psychological thriller ('Cold Comfort') to surprisingly poignant drama ('The 12 Days Of Christine'). The latter episode, starring Sheridan Smith in the title role, was probably the series highlight, though I did also love 'Cold Comfort' and its tale of life behind the scenes at a Samaritans-esque crisis helpline.

The conceits and plot twists were well handled - anyone saying they were obvious is probably doing so with the benefit of hindsight - and the creative freedom afforded to Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton by the BBC was perhaps most evident in the fact that they had both the confidence and the licence not to have to churn out the gags. To pigeonhole it as merely a comedy series would be to do it a serious disservice - it was far more than that.

This latest series was apparently commissioned before the first one aired (to relatively disappointing viewing figures) - here's hoping the BBC continues to back them for a third instalment.

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