Anthology series which mixes dark humor with genres like crime, horror or drama. The show invites viewers into some very different No.9s, where the ordinary and mundane rub shoulders with th... Read allAnthology series which mixes dark humor with genres like crime, horror or drama. The show invites viewers into some very different No.9s, where the ordinary and mundane rub shoulders with the extraordinary and macabre.Anthology series which mixes dark humor with genres like crime, horror or drama. The show invites viewers into some very different No.9s, where the ordinary and mundane rub shoulders with the extraordinary and macabre.
Sardines – in a large country house, a game of sardines is played, resulting in everyone ending up in a wardrobe in one of the bedrooms. This is a claustrophobic opener.
Tom & Gerri – a man enters a downward spiral when he befriends a mysterious tramp. This episode is the best of the series. A genuinely dark tale.
A Quiet Night In – a couple of bugling burglars try to steal a painting from a luxury home. This is I guess the experimental episode. It plays out effectively like a silent movie.
Last Gasp – a pop star dies while making a home visit to a sick girl, his entourage and the family then squabble over a balloon which holds his dying breath. This is the weakest episode, with a definite lack of material.
The Understudy – an acting understudy eventually assumes centre stage but at a price. This one is an interesting atmospheric tale.
The Harrowing – a teenage girl is hired to house sit but it appears that there are scary things going on in this home. This is the most clearly horror influenced segment. It has interesting things going for it but it doesn't really amount to as much as it could.
Overall, the first season is good but not a great one. As a comedy it's really not all that funny, surprisingly so when you take into account just how hilarious The League of Gentlemen was. But to be fair, I don't honestly think they were going for laughs a lot of the time, quite often it seemed like it was the dark tone that was the main idea. Ultimately pretty uneven but certainly an interesting bit of work though.
La Couchette - a group of passengers share a Trans Europe sleeper carriage in a train where something very bad happens in the night. A good start to season two that benefits from some fine comic performances from a good cast of TV familiars. This one is quite a bit more obviously funny than most in the series.
The 12 Days of Christine - twelve key days in the life of a woman called Christine. I reckon that this has to go down as the best episode in all of 'Inside No. 9'. In fact, this is one of the best bits of television I can remember seeing for a long while. In half an hour, this fantastically constructed episode conveys a huge amount of genuine emotion in an interesting and original way. Sheridan Smith is quite brilliant here also.
The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge - two witch finders arrive at a village in order to interrogate a woman accused of witch-craft. The influence of the 17th century horror films of the British film studio Tigon is very much in evidence. A little more straightforward than most in season two, yet very satisfying all the same.
Cold Comfort - a new volunteer worker at a Samaritans phone line experiences a series of unpleasant events. Once again this is an episode that shows huge invention on the part of its creators. Shot from a permanent split-screen that shows the views of three static in-house cameras, the story is expertly told and uses this restriction to its benefit even if the final pay-off is perhaps slightly under-par.
Nana's Party - events at a family birthday party go from bad to worse. This one is typified by lots of psychological tensions maximised by a set of oddball characters that don't seem to know how to socially interact.
Séance Time - a bad tempered TV prankster gets more than he bargained for during a mock séance he set up. Like the final episode of season one, this is another that goes for a horror styling in a much more overt manner. Once again it works well, as a result of some strong acting, even if it isn't ultimately the best work of the series.
In summary, season two was a blinder and, for my money, noticeably stronger that season one. I think Shearsmith and Pemberton have really got into their stride here and there really aren't any weak episodes in this second batch at all. The level of invention is highly impressive and the quality overall is very high indeed.
- Jun 18, 2014