Critical Condition: Back to Life

Back to Life | TVNZ OnDemand, from Tuesday

☆☆☆☆Back to Life is another of those sitcoms that are rooted in sadness; a sad-com. On paper it doesn’t seem like grounds for any laughs at all: a woman (Miri played by Daisy Haggard) released from prison after 18 years tries to rebuild her life amid hatred from the community. It sounds more like a BBC Two drama. But it is growing on me largely because it is well written and multi-layered, managing to be sweet, tragic and a little bit sick. Oh, and quietly funny, which is not easily done in these circs.” — The Times.

☆☆☆☆ “The beauty of the script and the performances – which build relationships so delicately and naturally, which modulate so deftly in and out of grief and laughter, and which turn ordinary moments into hilarity and heartbreak without you noticing how they got you there – will take your breath away.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆☆ “There are no thigh-slapping laughs, but plenty of poignant smiles. If you like your sitcoms to hurt, and that’s very much the fashion this year, Back to Life promises do the job. It won’t make your ribs ache — just your heart.” — Daily Mail.

☆☆☆☆Back to Life tells of an emotionally damaged single woman in her thirties on a quest for redemption. So far, so Fleabag … With considerable poise, and none of the gurning she deployed in Episodes, Haggard walks that line so well trodden by Phoebe Waller-Bridge between awkward comedy and deep pathos. The first episode passes a key test: you are intrigued to know more, and you care.” — The Arts Desk.

☆☆☆☆Back to Life [is] ace comedy, weaving relatable jokes about family, jobs and relationships into a plot about a woman sent to prison for murdering her best friend 18 years ago. Fingers crossed for a second series.” — Evening Standard.

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