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Psychoville
2012
unknownj
So, Edward and I went to the BFI cinema on the South Bank to see the first two episodes of Psychoville, a Comedy Thriller by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton of League of Gentlemen fame.

If I had to describe it, I couldn't do it without drawing parallels to the League of Gentlemen, at least in terms of the tone and nature of the characters. But you can really feel the difference in the continuous plot, which drives events forwards, as opposed to the character gags that were a little more typical of LoG.

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton again take on multiple roles, but only in those places where you can't entirely tell that they're doing it. There's a definite sense that you're meant to see beyond the "Oh, haha, typical Reece character!" type feelings, and actually find the characters more believable (within the general suspension of disbelief parameters of slightly dark and surreal comedy).

As far as the tone goes, it has the same "darkness" that people like in LoG, though I didn't find it that dark, as such. I think it really helps that they're not trying to be dark. It's not like it's a Jhonen Vasquez comic, dripping with as much darkness as its creator can force into it. The themes aren't light (unless you consider a near-psychotic one-handed clown waving his stump at terrified children to be light), but it's very much driven by the characters, who are human enough that you don't start to feel the typical alienation that you might otherwise feel when the darkness causes a disconnect from reality.

The first episode starts off a little slowly, and for me it took until at least halfway into the second episode before I felt like the multiple plot threads were sufficiently interconnected that it actually felt cohesive. Which isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it until then, but it certainly came across a lot better once you could see roughly where the narrative was going.

After the episodes, there was a panel discussion with Reece Shearsmith, Justin Davies (the producer), and two of the cast, Lisa Hammond, and Daniel Kaluuya (AKA Posh Kenneth from Skins). It was quite interesting just in terms of how the people came across - Posh Kenneth isn't the most articulate person when in that sort of situation, but you can really tell from what he's actually saying that he really knows his stuff, and is a really bright guy. Not that I think I could do any better, y'know, word-wise.

Anyway, the panel was really interesting, and it gave a great insight into the development of the show, and how everything came together, which was really good to watch. Makes one feel a bit closer to the whole process, and of course, always cool to see Reece Shearsmith in person. Oh, speaking of which, on the way back as we passed the E4 Udderbelly (don't ask), we walked past somebody off the TV, but I'm fucked if I can work out who..

But yes, really good evening. Good to be doing interesting stuff - being in London has its benefits.

Psychoville airs on the 11th of June on BBC Two. Watch it :o)

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Ooh! Loved LoG, so I'll definitely keep an eye our for that.

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