Culture

TV Review: Still Game’s new episode leaves this fan disappointed

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Credit: BBC

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.

 

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Credit: BBC

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.

5 replies »

  1. Luckily I have their previous episodes in the complete box set, as the new episodes are a complete flop. All rhe original characters have been ruined and the material borders on the ridiculous, not real comedy. The original episodes were based on a believable theme and the humour never stopped from start to finish. The new series is a chore to watch and the comedy is extremely sparse. The new characters are ridiculous. A great pity this fantastic cast of comedy have gone to the dogs.

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  2. Most episodes have felt too serious and slow so far, with few positive moments. The camerawork makes this worse as it is too close in actors faces and more static than ever. I agree that the indoor lighting is less natural. The most obvious is that the shop scene is often too dark. It is obvious that it is a set. You would be forgiven for thinking the show has dropped in budget after making it’s way to bbc one. Stick with the cheap six series box set by persuading someone to get it for you this christmas

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  3. Yes sadly have to agree with the review.. The whole thing lacked the sharpness of the original series. Jack and Victor are less sarcastic and cynical. Bobby now has far too much to say which make’s the play between him and his ungrateful customers not so funny. Isa now tends to go a little over the top now and defiantly needs to rain it in a little. The lighting is awful so unnatural. I’ve go the box set and will not be buying this series now I’ve sat through four… Should have left it alone guys. Sorry.

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  4. I thought it more than held its own. Admittedly it may have started off a tad slow but it soon had moments of hilarity.Not the best episode for sure but the criticism gathered within this review is harsh.Roll on Friday.

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