After nine years, Still Game has returned to our BBC screens and I must say, after all the build up, I felt very let down.
And by looking at television reviews and comments on social media, it seems that thousands of viewers felt the same.
Still Game, which originally aired in 2002, is a British sitcom, created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who also play the two main protagonists, Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade.
Ford and Hemphill’s characters depict two working class men in their early seventies, who live and spend their days in a fictional deprived council estate in Glasgow.
The episodes follow the comedic stories of their everyday lives in their community and the small time adventures and schemes conducted by them and their friends.
With a subtle mixture of hilarity and heart felt moments, the programme is an interesting take on the quiet but compelling lives of a specific group of people in our society.
But after a nine-year break-apart from a series of live shows in 2014 at the Glasgow Hydro-the seventh series aired its first episode on October 7 this year.
The thirty-minute showing seemed to return to the same time as the previous series finished off and revisited many of the old characters in their usual setting and pursuits.
The main narrative centred around Jack, Victor and Isa (Jane McCarry) as they receive their orders from a catalogue to improve and liven up their flats.
Victor gets an array of stones, one of which hides the key to his home. The only problem is, there are too many of them and he can’t figure out which one is which and on a high rise landing – it looks a tad odd.
Isa gets a “devil dug” of her own; a red eyed spaniel that allows her to talk to people outside her flat without even coming to the door. Lucky for her – but maybe not so much for everyone else – she can now gossip and harass from a far.
Now then Jack gets a flashy all singing, all dancing bath accessory. But after getting in for a cosy evening dip with his new toy, Jack soon discovers that he can’t get out and a full scale rescue takes place with some dire consequences.
Apart from that, there was a few scenes with the other key characters including: Winston (Paul Riley), Tam (Mark Cox), Navid (Sanjeev Kohli), Boabby the barman (Gavin Mitchell), Eric (James Martin) and Stevie (Matt Costello).
Even although the main story line was quite funny – especially towards the end – I felt it was a bit forced and loud. It is hard to explain, but I sensed that the drama was rushed and like thick, clumpy lumps of comedy rather than finely made and blended moments.
As for the rest of the episode, it lacked the usual gusto of old. For one, the new re-vamp and style of the episodes mise-en-scene and shot felt out of place. Everything looked too dark and depressive; it missed the casual, natural looking light and feel of the previous series, which gave it its light overtone.
And more importantly, the general easy flowing comedy of the previous episodes had fallen flat on its arse in this case (to use Craiglang’s genteel vocabulary). Apart from the usual strong entertainment of the main stories in the segments, there was usually just as much (if not more) laughs in the passing linking scenes.
But in this case, the connecting minutes were purely dull, with very little movement, purpose and absolutely no comical energy.
So in all, it is hard to judge the new series after just one episode. However, if the remaining ones are anything like the first, then I think I will sadly no longer be game for Still Game.