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The Outlaws (new Stephen Merchant comedy thriller)

Started by Ballad of Ballard Berkley, October 20, 2021, 09:42:17 PM

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Ballad of Ballard Berkley




gilbertharding

It somehow managed to be both better AND worse than I was expecting it to be. Very strange.

studpuppet

It was enjoyable - a fairly light Monday night comedy thriller on the BBC. I'm beginning to wonder what you all want from telly made for that time slot - it was a little bit silly, lots of threads and set-ups to follow in the coming weeks (unless you're watching it on iPlayer), and even self-referenced the set-up of all the 'types' being thrown together in an incongruous setting.

There was only one obvious trick they missed, which was that the heat gun should have been hidden 'up his ass'...

dead-ced-dead

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure I will soon while making Halloween costumes. I don't think Merchant's writing is perfect, but I take a bit of spiteful glee in the fact that his writing qualifies for the bare minimum of narrative storytelling (3-act structures, character progression and growth, rising and falling actions), that his writing's existence is a dig against Ricky Gervais's writing.

So to me it doesn't even have to be good, just competently enough made.

mhmhmh

Stephen Merchant appears to be a lovely bloke and knows what he is doing but isn't an actor of the same class as everyone else in this, so there's a bump in the road in every scene he is in. He writes, produces and directs, give someone else a chance to play the slightly strange bloke character.

kalowski

Watched it with my son (11) who made me laugh this morning by saying, "I'm 6'7", and before you ask, it's not in proportion."
I said, "Do you get that joke?" He said, "No. Will you explain it to me?"

In a nutshell, felt like a show he should be able to watch but with themes that he didn't really understand (he's a very innocent lad).
I thought it was OK. Best joke was
Spoiler alert
"Bodger that."
[close]

jobotic

Quote from: kalowski on October 26, 2021, 10:39:09 AM
Best joke was
Spoiler alert
"Bodger that."
[close]

That's the bit I laughed at.

Partner found Walken funny, I was just bemused.


olliebean

Quote from: studpuppet on October 26, 2021, 09:16:01 AMself-referenced the set-up of all the 'types' being thrown together in an incongruous setting.

I quite enjoyed Merchant's "type" being "whatever the fuck he is."

studpuppet

Quote from: olliebean on October 26, 2021, 11:20:39 AM
I quite enjoyed Merchant's "type" being "whatever the fuck he is."

Am I right in saying that the shoplifter is the only one where we know what they've done? I'm hoping that as the story unrolls, the 'expertise' of the others might come into play, and Merchant's will be the least likely/most useful.

gilbertharding

Quote from: studpuppet on October 26, 2021, 12:18:24 PM
Am I right in saying that the shoplifter is the only one where we know what they've done? I'm hoping that as the story unrolls, the 'expertise' of the others might come into play, and Merchant's will be the least likely/most useful.

I think we know Walken did a fraud with cheques, and it seems fairly clear that the young lad was caught doing some county lines drug stuff, but yeah - the shoplifter is the only one we know *exactly* what they did.

I think this is fine. You're right - it's easy to sniff, but there's definitely worse stuff out there - surely including stuff which gets hyped to the max because it's on netflix or whatever.

A few terrible lines and it felt so much like an ITV drama series I was expecting to see James Nesbitt pop up. In spite of this though I somehow really enjoyed it.

studpuppet

Quote from: SereneMackeral on October 26, 2021, 02:16:09 PM
A few terrible lines and it felt so much like an ITV drama series I was expecting to see James Nesbitt pop up. In spite of this though I somehow really enjoyed it.

cf. Line Of Duty!

up_the_hampipe

This was really bad and somehow Christopher Walken was the worst part.

neveragain

Quote from: kalowski on October 26, 2021, 10:39:09 AM
Watched it with my son (11) who made me laugh this morning by saying, "I'm 6'7", and before you ask, it's not in proportion."
I said, "Do you get that joke?" He said, "No. Will you explain it to me?"

In a nutshell, felt like a show he should be able to watch but with themes that he didn't really understand (he's a very innocent lad).
I thought it was OK. Best joke was
Spoiler alert
"Bodger that."
[close]

Warning: the first scene of episode two is probably not suitable for your son.

thugler

It's bad. Why does everything have to be made like a feature film? Ultra broad comedy, saccharine on the nose drama, and the ubiquitous 'young black kids from an estate who are struggling with gangs' stuff that is cut and pasted into everything. Felt like merchant had written a film but they've dragged it out a bit. I quite like the premise if it was for a sitcom and not needlessly trying to be cinematic in every scene, with music blasting over everything.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

October 26, 2021, 10:03:54 PM #47 Last Edit: October 26, 2021, 10:29:29 PM by Ballad of Ballard Berkley
I agree with most of the criticisms here, but I still can't help liking it. The writing is sometimes quite clunky - characters drawing attention to the contrived set-up isn't the sly Get Out of Jail Free card Merchant thinks it is - and the whole thing is glossed with a thick patina of corn.

However, I'm actually quite invested in these characters and the predicament they find themselves in. I want to find out what happens to this crazy gang of archetypes, which is something I rarely feel when it comes to programmes of this ilk. It's a likeable, good-natured show.

I do wonder, though, if my generosity towards it is partly influenced by my mind-boggled abhorrence of Gervais' solo output. Is it possible to watch a Merchant solo joint without thinking, "Well, faults and all, this is clearly so much better than the shite Gervais churns out."? Instead of judging it on its own terms? I'm not entirely sure.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

Quote from: up_the_hampipe on October 26, 2021, 07:55:40 PM
This was really bad and somehow Christopher Walken was the worst part.

It's like he's doing a Christopher Walken impression, despite already being Christopher Walken. It was so exaggerated I couldn't understand what he was saying a lot of the time.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: neveragain on October 26, 2021, 08:03:06 PM
Warning: the first scene of episode two is probably not suitable for your son.

Definitely not. The scene is played for laughs, but it's really quite seedy and bleak. I suppose you could argue that it's quite a bold and surprising way of starting episode two of your crowd-pleasing primetime BBC comedy drama. You could also argue that its entirely misjudged.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on October 26, 2021, 10:08:14 PM
It's like he's doing a Christopher Walken impression, despite already being Christopher Walken. It was so exaggerated I couldn't understand what he was saying a lot of the time.

I thought that too. I didn't have any trouble understanding him, but it does feel like Merchant has asked him to play the funny Christopher Walken character that all the comedians do. He settles down a bit in episode two, though.

Twenty five minutes in and just paused it to come in here and see if it's worth continuing, bit bored really.

George White

October 27, 2021, 07:48:14 AM #52 Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 08:04:32 AM by George White
Quote from: Rolf Lundgren on October 20, 2021, 10:16:24 PM
Same here. And baffled as to why he doesn't have a line in the trailer. Has big Hollywood star appearing as a regular in a British sitcom been done before? Closest I can think in recent years is Cuckoo and that depends on your definition.
Lee Majors in Too Much Sun, but again kind of past it.
Shirley's World - ITC sitcom with Shirley Maclaine
Anne Bancroft in Freddie and Max
Thomas Mitchell in Glencannon (dad off Gone with the Wind, Uncle Billy off A Wonderful Life, Academy award winner for Stagecoach, in an ITV family comedy-adventure about a sub-Para Handy Scottish sailor)

Lesser examples
Patrick O'Neal in Dick and the Duchess
Joan Shawlee in The Adventures of Aggie
Minerva Urecal in Tugboat Annie


Guest appearances-wise
George Chakiris in Last of the Summer Wine

Comedy-drama, but Linda Gray, Mako and Ken Kercheval in Lovejoy
Mako also in the Paradise Club.


Not American, but John Mills in ATV Northern pensioner-com Young at Heart
Barry Morse in Whoops Apocalypse - a US TV star and British-born, but...

olliebean

Quote from: Better Midlands on October 27, 2021, 01:09:09 AM
Twenty five minutes in and just paused it to come in here and see if it's worth continuing, bit bored really.

Give it until the end of the first episode, at least. It takes most of that to get invested in the characters. The first half hour just felt really by-the-numbers and a bit flat to me, but I was enjoying it more by the end.

Quote from: olliebean on October 27, 2021, 10:19:22 AM
Give it until the end of the first episode, at least. It takes most of that to get invested in the characters. The first half hour just felt really by-the-numbers and a bit flat to me, but I was enjoying it more by the end.

I watched the first two episodes and it did improve, although the dancing scene tested my patience. Will reserve judgement till the end.

Spoiler alert
How did CW get the heat gun through the metal detector?
[close]


Ignatius_S

October 27, 2021, 01:20:08 PM #56 Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 01:33:50 PM by Ignatius_S
Quote from: Rolf Lundgren on October 20, 2021, 10:16:24 PM
Same here. And baffled as to why he doesn't have a line in the trailer. Has big Hollywood star appearing as a regular in a British sitcom been done before? Closest I can think in recent years is Cuckoo and that depends on your definition.

The series is a joint Amazon and BBC production, with the former having US-rights, so it's arguably better to see this it in terms like something like The Night Manager that's a multi-national production made for an international market rather than a British series. I'm not sure when Amazon's involvement was first announced - pretty sure that it was quite a while - but Big Talk, who made this, have been trying to push into the US market and have very recently confirmed that Friday Night Dinner is being adapted for American

Rutger Hauer in Porters mentioned above is the best example (and recentish) example of what you're looking about.

*Edit* although one worth mentioning is Life with the Lyons, which is one of the earliest British sitcoms and a hugely successful one, starred real-life husband and with team, Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyons. They created the sitcom and Daniels was essentially the head writer and doesn't get nearly enough recognition and credit for that.

Both were bona fide film stars - amongst other things Daniels was Harold Lloyd's leading lady for a few years and one of the stars of 42nd Street - both reinvented themselves over here when their film careers were quietening.

H-O-W-L

Does Walken manage to outdo his presence in the startlingly shit FMV game "Ripper"?

George White

I forgot about Life with the Lyons.
Every time I see RIchard lyon in some old film (i.e. MGM faux-Scottish drama The Green Years), I think 'he was basically the speccy kid from My Family of his day'.


i suppose all the Oscar-nominated  British actors to have done sitcoms AFTER their time - Hugh Griffith, Robert Morley, don't count etc.

Ignatius_S

Finally watched the first episode - really liked it.

Great cast - I had forgotten Dolly Wells was in it, so that was an unexpected bonus. Is Walken's presence incongruous? I don't know and don't care.