Great News! It has come to Netflix! Great News!
The spiritual successor to 30 Rock, from Tracey Wigfield, Great News is a light-hearted sitcom about a young woman dealing with a manic workplace and personal life issues, while trying to produce a TV show. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Rather than a late night weekly sketch show, Great News takes us to the world of local news programming, where Katie (Briga Heelan) is a segment producer desperately trying to make important, engaging news stories, but ends up being given the slop of stupid, inane, fun pieces. Meanwhile, her mother, Carol (Andrea Martin – the queen of the whole show), finds herself at a life crossroads, and begins interning on the programme. Cue disastrous carnage, as her work and home lives collide in one very large fire of insanity, not helped by the various producers of the show, and the two anchors Portia and Chuck (Nicole Ritchie and John Michael Higgins respectively), who are variations of Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan’s characters from 30 Rock.
Great News takes a few episodes to warm up its cast of characters and crazy situations, before finding its feet as a naturally funny ensemble comedy where anything and everything can, and invariably does, happen. The best bits revolve around Carol, as a late-age intern doing things the senior way at any given time – with Martin’s amazing versatility as a comic actress and Broadway star, every moment spent with her is a joy, from her obsession with a breakfast show (which is basically women drinking wine) to her ability to appease the crusty – but desperate to seem young and ‘with it’ – Chuck Pierce, when he has many a crisis regarding his fame, the world around him, and, well, anything that isn’t about Chuck Pierce, lead anchor.
Bouncing around the station, Great News lets its wacky characters tell stories that, surprisingly, go somewhere – a very hearty meal for a sitcom, but never weighty. Each episode is a lot of fun, and will leave you ready to keep bingeing, but with the first season’s short 10-episode run, you’ll want to savour every morsel. (A second season was made, running 13 episodes, before the show was sadly cancelled.) As NBC worked on building a schedule that mirrored its previous successes, Superstore became their new The Office, Trial & Error fit into the Parks & Recreation realm, and Great News easily slipped into the style and feel of 30 Rock, it seemed the network was going to give the audience something of quality, regardless of numbers. But, like any good local news producer knows, it’s more important to get eyes on your work than for it to be any good, and just like that, Great News will only ever last for this brief moment of glory. The show never found an audience in America, but now it comes to Netflix UK – much like The Good Place, which swept the world, it may be the moment this funny, sweet, silly show joins the zeitgeist. And if not, well, you can be one of the cool people who saw it and talked about it and watched it again, and again, and again, because it’s Great (News). Did we mention Andrea Martin?
Great News is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription.