Sunday 3 November 2013

The Wrong Mans - BBC 2 TV review

I've just caught up with the final episode of The Wrong Mans, a BBC 2 TV comedy thriller starring Matthew Baynton and James Corden, who were also involved in dreaming up the story of two innocent young men, Sam and Phil, working at the offices of Berkshire County Council (though only Sam was a council employee, as we were constantly reminded, Phil was simply based in the building).

I've deferred commenting on this series until now because the comedy thriller is a very, very difficult type of crime story to pull off successfully, especially over half a dozen half-hour television episodes. Plots can become overly thickened, jokes can become very laboured. It began well, but I wasn't sure whether the same standard would be maintained to the end. Happily, it was. What was striking about The Wrong Mans was how well it overcame the usual obstacles and maintained my interest throughout. This is a sign of very strong writing.

Baynton and Corden make a very engaging pair of heroes, who innocently stumble into a complex conspiracy involving such diverse elements as double agents and high speed rail. Emilia Fox was a suitably sultry temptress who was lined up with the Bad Guys, and there were a host of funny moments. I also liked the nods to other thrillers - one or two Hitchcock-style scenes, for instance.

The very last scene suggested that there will be a follow-up series. I hope so, but it will have to be good to match the success of this one. Whether the writers' inventiveness will flag or not, we'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, I can recommend this show to anyone who hasn't seen it and could do with a bit of light relief.


Anonymous said...

Martin - You're quite right about the difficulty of keeping a comedy thriller series going well. Very few people can pull that off. I'm glad it happened for you in this case.

Todd Mason said...

Americans can see it on Hulu, thought we have to buy Hulu Plus at the moment to do so.

Martin Edwards said...

Margot, Todd, thanks very much.