Catch up TV review: Friday Night Dinner S6, Brooklyn Nine-Nine S7, Duncanville
Ivan Radford | On 29, Mar 2020Reading time: 2 mins
Friday Night Dinner: Season 6 (All 4)
Now in its sixth season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Robert Popper’s family sitcom would fail to serve up the same laughs from the now familiar recipe. But as we rejoin the Goodman family’s borderline existential crisis of eternally trying to have a successful Friday evening meal, the ingredients work precisely because they haven’t changed. Well, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal are now looking a little too old for comfort, but Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter are as believably weary of each other as ever, as the duo now bicker over the fact that Martin has bought a rundown caravan that sits in the driveway. But the star ingredient, of course, remains Mark Heap, whose Jim turns up just when needed to escalate things to a disastrous mess that you can see coming – it should be predictable, but instead his amusing chaos is perfectly cringe-worthy in its painful inevitability.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 7 (All 4)
Speaking of shows that don’t get old, what a joy it is to see Brooklyn Nine-Nine back again on our screens – and, while the show might be long in the tooth, the laughs are still brand new. Flying thick and fast, they’re stuffed into the script as impressively as ever, and – crucially – remain rooted in each character, now fine-tuned by the writers and the cast. And so we giggle as Joe Lo Truglio’s over-eager Charles tries to egg Jake (Andy Samberg) on to lead a manhunt, but we guffaw at the smart role reversal at play, as Holt (MVP Andre Baugher) adjusts to his new position as a uniformed officer, and Jake fails to take command over his former boss. It brings a fresh dynamic to an ensemble that’s still criminally hysterical.
Duncanville (All 4)
Amy Poehler, Mike Scully and Julie Scully team up for this adult animation that tackles teen life with a frank sense of humour. Fox’s answer to Netflix’s Big Mouth? That seems to be the premise, as we’re introduced to Duncan, a 15-year-old who lives with his mum and dreams of Wonder Woman and impressing his secret crush, Mia. Will that be by learning to drive? Maybe, and while there’s certainly an emphasis on Duncan’s downstairs excitement, there’s also a welcome lack of pure smut, as it balances imaginative flights of surreal silliness with day-to-day dysfunctional families. Is that enough to give the show an identity that stands apart from The Simpsons, Family Guy and the rest? Time will tell, but Duncanville earns a bit of breathing space to try.