Episodes (TV series)

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Episodes
Episodes logo.png
FormatSitcom
Created byDavid Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Written byDavid Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Directed byJames Griffiths
Jim Field Smith
Starring
Composer(s)Mark Thomas
Country of originUnited Kingdom
United States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes25 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)David Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Jimmy Mulville
Editor(s)Nigel Williams
Location(s)Hollywood
Windlesham
CinematographyRob Kitzmann
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Hat Trick Productions
Crane/Klarik Productions
Showtime Networks
Broadcast
Original channelShowtime (US)
BBC Two/BBC HD (UK)
Original runJanuary 9, 2011 (2011-01-09) – present
External links
Website
Production website
 
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Episodes
Episodes logo.png
FormatSitcom
Created byDavid Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Written byDavid Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Directed byJames Griffiths
Jim Field Smith
Starring
Composer(s)Mark Thomas
Country of originUnited Kingdom
United States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes25 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)David Crane
Jeffrey Klarik
Jimmy Mulville
Editor(s)Nigel Williams
Location(s)Hollywood
Windlesham
CinematographyRob Kitzmann
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Hat Trick Productions
Crane/Klarik Productions
Showtime Networks
Broadcast
Original channelShowtime (US)
BBC Two/BBC HD (UK)
Original runJanuary 9, 2011 (2011-01-09) – present
External links
Website
Production website

Episodes is a British/American television sitcom created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and produced by Hat Trick Productions.[1] It premiered on Showtime in the United States on 9 January 2011 at 21:30 hrs.[2] and on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on 10 January 2011 at 22:00 hrs.[1] The show is about a British husband-and-wife comedy writing team who travel to Hollywood to remake their successful British TV series, with disastrous results.

On 11 December 2013, it was announced that Showtime had renewed Episodes for a fourth season.[3]

Episodes has received positive reviews by critics,[4][5] with many critics praising the performances of stars Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, and Matt LeBlanc.[6] In 2012, LeBlanc's performance in the series won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy.

Premise[edit]

After happily married couple Sean and Beverly Lincoln win yet another BAFTA Award for their successful British sitcom, Lyman's Boys, they are persuaded to move to Hollywood and remake their series for an American audience. Unfortunately the network starts to make changes, and pressure the couple into casting Matt LeBlanc in the lead role.

A complicated triangle ensues, in which Sean becomes friends with Matt, while Beverly is less impressed. Continuing changes to the scripts threaten to damage the show, and other pressures result in difficulties in Sean and Beverly's marriage.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Development and production[edit]

In May 2010, the BBC announced that seven episodes had been ordered and that filming had begun, with James Griffiths directing.[8] Sean and Beverly Lincoln are played by Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, who previously co-starred in the British sitcom Green Wing (2004–2007).

Beverly was originally to be portrayed by Claire Forlani, but she left the cast in April 2010 when the series was in pre-production.[9] LeBlanc was to play a "larger than life version of himself" as character Matt LeBlanc.[8] Thomas Haden Church was also to have a role in the series as Merc Lapidus, the American television executive who commissions the remake, but he left due to scheduling conflicts,[9] and was replaced by John Pankow.

Although the majority of the show was set in Los Angeles, it was mainly filmed in the UK, including the £35 million mansion Updown Court as the house of Beverley and Sean Lincoln, with inserts shot on location in LA.[10]

The second series began transmissions on BBC Two and BBC HD on May 11, 2012 and on July 1, 2012 on Showtime.[11][12]

Stephen Mangan announced on his Twitter page that filming of the third season, consisting of nine episodes, would start in spring 2013.[13] He later amended the date to June 2013.[14]

Reception[edit]

The response of the American critics was positive.[15] Robert Bianco of USA Today called the show "easily the best new sitcom of the season"[16] and The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert said that "Each of the season's seven half-hours is a little sliver of pleasure."[17] A Boston Herald review by Mark A. Perigard was lukewarm; he said he feared that the show would never achieve a broad audience[18] and David Wiegand from the San Francisco Chronicle praised the performances of the actors but felt that the series simply was not funny.[19] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix went further declaring the show to be one of the worst TV moments of 2011.[20] The UK critics' response to the first episode was broadly lukewarm while remaining optimistic.[21][22] More screentime for Matt LeBlanc was eagerly anticipated by some,[23] with The Independent's Brian Viner believing that this might improve the series.[24]

The second season received widespread critical acclaim.[25][26] Henry Goldblatt of Entertainment Weekly called the second season "[A] terrific second season of this industry-set sitcom".[27] USA Today said of the show "As smartly written as it is played, Episodes offers the comic pleasures, not just of clashing cultures, but of contrasting comic styles. On one side you have LeBlanc, who handles the big laughs and the broader humor, and does it so well, it serves as a reminder that he was under-appreciated during his years on Friends." Ed Bark of Uncle Barky praised the season saying it was "a thoroughly entertaining romp, with the television industry as a combination Tilt-A-Whirl/merry-go-round.[28][29] On the Firewall & Iceberg podcast Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg commented on the second season, saying that the "self-congratulatory, obvious" show that is "oddly tone-deaf about the business that is was trying to satirize" is "not about anything" and "as a result is better for it", but is still "groaningly unfunny".[30]

The third season received mostly positive reviews from critics, but they were not as strong as those of the previous season.[25][31] Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker gave the season a positive review, saying "It seemed doubtful that the show’s creators could keep those plates spinning for another round, but the third season introduces a fantastic new contrivance: a psychotic new network head, played by Chris Diamantopoulos."[32] Brian Lowry of Variety gave the season a lukewarm review, praising Matt LeBlanc's performance, writing: "Episodes remains distinguished, mostly, by Matt LeBlanc's gameness in playing a jaundiced, utterly self-absorbed version of himself, the classic stereotype of a sitcom star with an oversized ego.".[33] Phil Dyess-Nugent of The A.V. Club gave the season a "C+" grade and a mixed review, writing: "It's turned out to be a fairly tired satire of Hollywood, one that's stayed yoked to its dubious premise."[34]

In the UK, episode one of the series premiered with an audience of 1.86 million, an audience share of 8.5%.[35] Episode two received 1.53 million viewers (7.4%), and by episode four viewing numbers were down to 1.09 million (5.3%). Episode five saw a slight rise in viewers to 1.33 million (6.6%), but numbers once again fell for episode six to 1.12 million (5.5%), and the season ended with the lowest number of viewers, 1.06 million (5.1%), tuning in for the final episode.[36] The second series in the UK began with 1.34 million, audience share of 6.8%, but by episode seven had steadily declined to 0.68 million viewers and an audience share of 3.3%.[37] As in the US, the UK's reception to the second series was positive with The Arts Desk saying "There were some very funny industry-related gags, not least network boss Merc (John Pankow) and his PA-cum-mistress Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) having sex on his desk while roaring the ratings figures back at one another. The cast are excellent value but at the moment only Greig seems to be playing for genuine emotional stakes. Portraying an exaggerated version of his on-screen persona, LeBlanc’s sweet, sex-obsessed shallowness is all that's required, but Mangan – a terrific comic actor - seems constantly to be toying with a smirk, devaluing some of the emotional currency you sense Episodes is striving for. Together, they've proved they can make us laugh."[38]

Broadcast[edit]

The series premiered in Australia on Nine on July 3, 2012,[39] with season two returning on September 4, 2012.[40] The first two seasons were replayed by subscription television network BBC UKTV (as opposed to Nine which is a free-to-air network), premiering January 28, 2014.[41][42] Unlike the first two seasons which premiered in Australia on Nine, season three will premiere on BBC UKTV in 2014.[43]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Episodes
YearAssociationCategoryRecipientsResult
2011Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesMatt LeBlanc (Episode: "The Fight")Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy SeriesDavid Crane & Jeffrey Klarik (Episode: "The Fight")Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Theme MusicMark ThomasNominated
Satellite AwardBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyMatt LeBlancNominated
Best Television Series – Musical or ComedyNominated
2012Golden Globe AwardBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyMatt LeBlancWon
Best Television Series – Musical or ComedyNominated
2013Golden Globe AwardBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyMatt LeBlancNominated
Best Television Series – Musical or ComedyNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesMatt LeBlanc (Episode: "The Affair")Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy SeriesDavid Crane & Jeffrey Klarik (Episode: "The Award")Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Press Packs: Episodes". BBC. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Biggest Sunday Ever on Showtime! Shameless, Episodes & Californication to Premiere 9th January", Showtime press release, 22nd September 2010, via FutonCritic.com. Retrieved 3rd November 2010.
  3. ^ "'Episodes' Renewed For Fourth Season by Showtime". Deadline. 11 December 2013. Retrieved December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Episodes Review Season 2". metacritic.com. CBS Interactive INC. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Episodes Season 1 Metacritic Reviews". CBS. Interactive Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Gay, Verne. "'Episodes' review: Matt LeBlanc's a star". Newsday. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Episodes Season 1: Everyone's Best Friend - Kathleen Rose Perkins
  8. ^ a b "Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig star in David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik's Episodes" (Press release). BBC. May 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Wightman, Catriona (April 29, 2010). "Church, Forlani quit Matt LeBlanc show". Digitalspy.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  10. ^ "LeBlanc's 'brave' move on to British TV", BBC News, January 10, 2011
  11. ^ "Exciting News:...". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  12. ^ "Guess which show is coming back on 11 May!". BBC Comedy. Retrieved April 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Delighted to inform you that #Episodes will be back next year for another 9 part series. Filming starts in the spring.". Twitter. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  14. ^ Mangan, Stephen (April 5, 2013). "@SinJohansen Filming in June". Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Episodes Season 1 Reviews". metacritic.com. CBS Interactive INC. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  16. ^ Robert Bianco (January 6, 2011). "Experience great 'Episodes' of laughter, thanks to LeBlanc". USA Today. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  17. ^ Matthew Gilbert (January 7, 2011). "A clever satire about the travails of adaptation". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ Mark A. Perigard (January 6, 2011). "Big names, little roles". Boston Herald. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ David Wiegand (January 6, 2011). "'Episodes' review: High on ego, low on laughs". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (December 26, 2011). "Lumps of coal: The worst TV I watched in 2011". HitFix.com. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  21. ^ Sam Wollaston (January 10, 2011). "TV review: Episodes". The Guardian. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  22. ^ Jane Simon (January 10, 2011). "Episodes - BBC2, 10pm". The Mirror. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  23. ^ Keith Watson (January 10, 2011). "Episodes is a sharp and slick take on Britain's inferiority complex". Metro. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  24. ^ Brian Viner (January 11, 2011). "Last Night's TV - Episodes, BBC2; Shameless, Channel 4; Baking Made Easy, BBC2". The Independent. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Episodes (US): Season 2 (2012)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Metacritic: Episodes (US): Season 2". 
  27. ^ Goldblatt, Henry (Aug 2012). "Episodes Season 2 Review". Entertainment Weekly. 
  28. ^ Bark, Ed. "Showtime's Episodes ups its game in Season 2". unclebarky.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  29. ^ Bianco, Robert (June 28, 2012). "Showtime's 'Episodes' mocks TV marvelously –". USA Today. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Firewall & Iceberg Podcast Episode 136 - "Episodes" (00:40:10 - 00:53:00)". 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  31. ^ "Episodes (US): Season 3 (2014)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  32. ^ Nussbaum, Emily. "On Television". newyorker.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  33. ^ Lowry, Brian. "TV Review: ‘Episodes’". variety.com. Variety Media. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  34. ^ Dyess-Nuget, Phil. "In its third lackluster season, Episodes becomes its own target". avclub.com. The A.V. Club. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  35. ^ "Episode 1.1". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Episode 1.7". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Episode 2.7". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  38. ^ Graeme Thomson (2012-05-12). "Episodes, Series 2, BBC Two | TV reviews, news & interviews". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  39. ^ Knox, David (June 23, 2012). "Airdate: Episodes". TV Tonight. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  40. ^ Knox, David (August 28, 2012). "Returning: Episodes". TV Tonight. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  41. ^ UKTV Australia (January 28, 2014). "Twitter/UKTVausttalia". Twitter. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  42. ^ Newsome, Brad (January 23, 2014). "Episodes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  43. ^ Knox, David (March 6, 2014). "Season 3 Episodes to air on UKTV". TV Tonight. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]