Catch up TV reviews: Wasted, Naked Attraction, Wild Animal Reunions, Shed of the Year
James R | On 31, Jul 2016
Wasted (All 4)
A bunch of 20-somethings slum about in Wasted, the new Channel 4 comedy sitcom about the stupid things you get up to when there’s nothing much to do. Sound familiar? That’s because Wasted is like watching Spaced, set 17 years later. Edgar Wright-ish stylistic touches are everywhere, from crash-zooms to fast cuts, all of them juxtaposing the epic drama in our protagonists’ heads with the pathetic banality of real life. There’s the West Country boredom of Hot Fuzz. There are the flashes of the video game-inspired effects of Scott Pilgrim. And there are the pop culture references of Shaun of the Dead.
Fortunately, though, Wasted has one other thing in common with the director’s best work: it’s consistently, unstoppably, unquestionably funny.
The cast bounce around the screen with energy, from Danny Kirrane’s nerdy Morpheus and Rose Reynolds (The World’s End) as his neurotic sister to Gwyneth Keyworth as the kooky girl Morpheus fancies – and, of course, Morpheus’ cocky best friend, Kent (Dylan Edwards), who moves back to the village after failing at being at DJ. Pills, peeing yourself and Jeremy Paxman all combine over the first two episodes, as writers James Lamont and Jon Foster (Cuckoo) bombard you with gags and slapstick until your resistance basically gives in.
But the real secret to the series’ success is convincing Sean Bean to guest star as, erm, Sean Bean, who appears to Morpheus as a spirit guide – in full Ned Stark clothing, complete with dramatic delivery and fur cloak. “It’s getting colder, almost like summer’s over…” hints Morpheus to his hero. “I’m not saying it,” snaps Bean, storming off into the woods. It’s impossible not to enjoy any show so determined to make you laugh.
Naked Attraction (All 4)
This is it. We’ve finally hit rock bottom in the reality TV dating world. You might have thought that was with Eamonn Holmes presenting Channel 5’s panel show, It’s Not Me It’s You?, but you were wrong: there’s even worse muck to scrape from the barrel of televisual quack. Channel 4’s Naked Attraction bills itself as an intelligent study of how we judge people on their appearances – “Whilst we are socially conditioned not to judge people on their looks, could reversing the dating process and judging someone purely on their naked form actually offer us the best chance of finding a suitable mate?” – but strip away the layers and it’s actually a crass piece of sensationalism masquerading as something entertaining. Host Anna Richardson pretends to ask provocative, probing questions, in between reciting statistics that are barely relevant to the sight of wobbling penises and nervously planted legs, but it’s all controversy for the sake of it, with the end decision of who to date out of the potential candidates made after our participant has found out more about them anyway. Bring back Cilla Black and the days of romance based solely on the ability of an unseen person to talk about what sandwich they would be and why.
Wild Animal (ITV Hub)
This documentary follows a group of animal keepers and caregivers as they return to their long-lost friends. The sight of the creatures, which range from Christian the Lion to an orphaned chimp and some envious elephants, remembering their former human companions is irresistibly heart-warming. And, given the state of the world right now, there’s something endearingly reassuring about the fact that if human civilisation collapses and we have to fight for survival in the jungle, at least that pigeon you once gave some bread to won’t peck you to death in your sleep.
Photo: TIGERESS PRODUCTION / ITV
Shed of the Year
Billed as the “highlight in every shed owner’s calendar”, the Shed of the Year 2016 competition may sound like the most boring, nerdy highlight in everyone else’s calendar, but George Clarke presents Amazing Spaces with the kind of infectious enthusiasm that straddles the boundary between niche DIY appeal and the tiny child inside all of us that’s fascinated by architecture. So while we get to hear about “double reduction gearboxes” and other technical bits and bobs, we also get to admire the frankly cool ability of one Denbighshire shed to rotate and enjoy the countryside view. Hardcore enthusiasts were less enchanted, taking to Twitter to point out it was a summer house more than a shed, but with a Anglo Saxon longhouse on display too, you can’t blame them for getting passionate; this is unexpectedly winning stuff.