Thank God It’s Friday on SoHo

Tonight, Matt LeBlanc’s Joey moves out on Friends (TV2, 6.00) ahead of Matt LeBlanc’s Matt LeBlanc moving back in, in the latest season of Episodes (SoHo, 9.00).

Sky’s premium drama channel is teaming the comedy-within-a-comedy, Episodes, with the 8.30 premiere of Silicon Valley in a new Friday night comedy hour.

Hitherto, SoHo’s flagship comedies aired 8.30-9.30 Thursdays but when Veep ends its run next month, the night will be revamped with a triple-dose of horror (True Blood, Penny Dreadful, Bates Motel).

Episodes lands here unusually late for a SoHo exclusive — six months after its Showtime premiere in the US — but The New Yorker’s review says the wait will have been worthwhile.

“The third season introduces a fantastic new contrivance: a psychotic new network head, played by Chris Diamantopoulos.

“He’s full of shit, yet insightful about his sick industry. ‘It’s like everything you gave me arrived pre-cancelled!’ he howls at his minions, flexing his six-pack.”

But Variety wasn’t as won over: “It’s hard not to see Episodes as a pretty good metaphor for what show-within-the-show Pucks is: A TV series that starts with high hopes and the promise of doing something a little different and — despite the latitude, in this case, afforded by its premium venue — winds up just settling for more of the same.”

As far as I’m concerned, more of the same from a series as funny and clever as Episodes is good enough!

And Variety does acknowledge LeBlanc’s “gameness in playing a jaundiced, utterly self-absorbed version of himself, the classic stereotype of a sitcom star with an oversized ego (and at least in the show, other appendages as well).

“There is truth, as well as some fun, in moments like the former Friends star chafing at being downgraded to the second guest spot on The Tonight Show (Jay Leno, naturally, appears in a cameo as himself) – or his pained expression when someone says ‘back when you were hot,’ reflecting showbiz’s cruel little indignities.”

Of course, the real LeBlanc still is “hot” 10 years after Friends went off-air — witness his guest turn on last week’s Graham Norton Show, with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, helping to deliver TV3’s chat show its best ratings in weeks.

It averaged 10.0% – 11.6% of the major demographics to out-rate the last half-hour of TV2’s The Voice Australia and the first half-hour of Van Wilder Party Liaison.

Despite predominantly harsh UK reviews — “it’s hard to care about the gilded characters” (The Telegraph), “has become a victim of its own success” (The Independent) — Episodes has been renewed for a fourth season.

Stablemate Silicon Valley also has been renewed. “Veep and Silicon Valley, which opened to rave reviews, further cement HBO’s comedy brand,” says The Hollywood Reporter.

“They complement a slate that also includes previously renewed comedies Girls, Getting On, Looking and upcoming freshman series TogethernessThe Brink, starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson vehicle Ballers.”

HBO’s also just greenlit a comedy from Eastbound & Down’s Danny McBride called Vice Principals.

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One Response to “Thank God It’s Friday on SoHo”

  1. Episodes is very funny. I don’t know where they can go with this series. Have to wait and see.

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