Channel 4 could really do with some new original comedy. They’ve finished up The Inbetweeners and cancelled all the shows which managed to graduate from previous years’ Comedy Showcases. So this year Channel 4 are putting together 7 pilots for their showcase. A few will surely make it to series, but can any make it to a second year?
Following their success in The Inbetweeners, Simon Bird and Joe Thomas have written themselves a comedy. Set during the first World War this comedy focuses on three young men who refuse to go to war as they struggle to save face back at home. Certainly would be a unique comedy for the channel and with half the cast of The Inbetweeners could well be popular enough to make it to a full series.
The Angelos Neil Epithemiou Show
Dan Skinner brings his infamous character to a studio based entertainment show. It will apparently include audience participation, magic tricks and new characters. If this is anything like his set at Laughs in the Park I’d be amazed if this made it past the pilot.
The Fun Police
Plenty of comedy pedigree here with Vic Reeves and Rhys Darby leading the cast of this comedy about Brightsea Council’s Health and Safety department. If this can manage a similar tone and style to America’s Parks and Recreation Channel 4 could be onto a winner.
House Of Rooms
Milton Jones is best-known as a brilliant stand-up comedian, but has a lesser-known history as the writer and star of BBC radio sitcoms since 1998: The Very World of Milton Jones – in which each episode began with Jones facing certain death before a guardian angel appeared to him to review the events that led to his predicament; The House of Milton Jones and Another Case of Milton Jones (currently airing on Radio 4). House of Rooms, where Jones lives with his mother in a large house filled with tenants, will be his first time starring in a television vehicle. Will he stick to his trademark one-liners that have gained him his TV following or employ the gag-driven surrealist nature of his radio shows? Or will he depart from this entirely and offer up a character-driven model? We’re intrigued.
The only female lead comedy in this batch sees three old school friends meet once a week at the bedside of their comatose friend. With comediennes from The IT Crowd, Lead Balloon and Him & Her there’s enough talent on-screen for this to be a success.
Felix And Murdo
Armstrong and Miller are back with a studio-based sitcom set in 1908. The duo drink, take drugs and compete in the Olympics, presumably with a painful laughter track. For some reason I just don’t see this working; comedy has moved on from Armstrong and Miller.
The Function Room
No cast announced yet for this comedy set in a pub’s function room. Each week a different group hires out the room and interacts with the regular characters. It sounds a bit like Party Down meets Early Doors, which would be amazing. Equally it could be terrible, we don’t know nearly enough to unfairly judge it yet.
It’s great that Channel 4 give so many shows a chance on-air, but they have so far failed to nurture any to multiple series. There are a couple out of this seven which could well set a new precedence.