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This has been trailed a few times since the autumn, but actually begins airing in the New Year (Monday 10th Jan). BBC2 have had a few decent new comedy shows this year in the form of The Trip and Whites, so I'm hopeful that this could be decent. Plus, being one of the seemingly few people on the Forum who enjoyed Friends, Matt LeBlanc's presence is not an issue...

Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig in Episodes

Category: TV Entertainment; BBC Two

Episodes is a seven-part comedy series for BBC Two from the highly acclaimed writing partnership of David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You), produced by Hat Trick Productions (Outnumbered, Have I Got News For You) for Showtime (Nurse Jackie, The Tudors) and the BBC, for transmission from Monday 10 January 2011 at 10pm.

Episodes is the story of a happily married English couple, Sean and Beverly Lincoln, who also happen to be successful producers of a hit British TV show called Lyman's Boys.

At an awards ceremony in London they are wooed by a hugely powerful and charismatic US network executive who persuades them to move out to LA and remake their hit show for an American audience – with disastrous results.

Things begin to unravel at Sean's and Beverly's first studio meeting. It soon becomes clear that the network president has never even seen their show. To make matters worse, he insists they replace their lead actor, an erudite Royal Shakespeare Company veteran (played by Richard Griffiths) with... Matt LeBlanc. Sean and Beverly are appalled. But the decision is out of their hands.

Matt comes on board and they find themselves in a complicated triangle, which threatens to destroy not just their TV show but also their marriage.

The quintessential US comedy star Matt LeBlanc plays a larger than life version of himself. Joining him are Tamsin Greig (Tamara Drewe, Green Wing, Love Soup), Stephen Mangan (Free Agents, Never Better, Green Wing), Kathleen Rose Perkins (Without A Trace, Tell Me You Love Me), Mircea Monroe (Scrubs, Without A Trace), Daisy Haggard (Psychoville, Sense And Sensibility) and Richard Griffiths (The History Boys, Withnail And I).

Jimmy Mulville comments: "These are some of the best scripts I've read in a long time by two writers at the top of their game.

"To have the opportunity to make a show with David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, with Matt LeBlanc playing a hilarious version of himself, and then to make that show for both Showtime and the BBC, whose combined portfolios of comedy are second to none, is both a thrill and a great privilege. Episodes promises to be one of the great comedy treats of 2011."

David and Jeffrey add: "For the two of us to be doing a show with Matt again is a dream come true. Add to that the chance to work with talents of the calibre of Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan? Well, it doesn't get better than that."

The series was commissioned by BBC Comedy and Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, says: "I'm delighted that Matt LeBlanc is starring in an original comedy for BBC Two, and to be working with Showtime and Hat Trick on such a unique format."

Cheryl Taylor, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, says: "The quality of the scripts from David and Jeffrey is equalled only by the pedigree of the cast and we can't wait to see Episodes on BBC Two."

Matt LeBlanc adds: "This is a great idea from David and Jeffrey – I love it. I am really excited to be working with Showtime and the BBC. And I am also so glad I got the part; seeing someone else playing Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating."

The series is produced by David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik and Jimmy Mulville with Simon Wilson as Executive Producer for the BBC. James Griffiths (Free Agents) directs.

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Hopefully it is good as I like Stephen Mangan but haven't really liked anything he has taken the lead in.

Just checked out the trailer and I'm not really sold. It looks very light and whilst there is nothing wrong with that (and I guess it is to be expected seeing it is from the writers of Friends and Mad About You) I was hoping it would be a bit more biting. Hopefully it will just be the usual case of a poor comedy trailer and a good series.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good, but annoying that they did the flashback bit. It could have worked as well with a straightforward telling - BAFTA award, fly to LA, dreadful audition. Hope the guard on the gate is going to be a recurring character too.

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I thought it was piss-poor. The wife was especially annoying - women and sarcasm don't mix.

I'll watch another episode in the hope LeBlanc makes it better. I get the feeling 90% of the episode was covered in the "next time" bit though.

And stupid decision to start with the end. I HATE it when films and programs do that. What's the point? It's like they've shoved a copy of one of those spoiler magazines like Soap Weekly in your face and forced you to read the pages where it tells you everything that happens in all the programs.

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Plus, being one of the seemingly few people on the Forum who enjoyed Friends, Matt LeBlanc's presence is not an issue...

Friends is ace! It's one of the only sitcoms and can happily watch over and over - watched the entire run last year and bought myself the friends box set cheap just before xmas for next time.

I even found Joey quite good, i was sad to see it cancelled =(

But episodes.. I will watch it, but it just doesn't look that interesting. Ill await to hear what ep2/ep3 is like before setting down to watch it.

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And stupid decision to start with the end. I HATE it when films and programs do that. What's the point? It's like they've shoved a copy of one of those spoiler magazines like Soap Weekly in your face and forced you to read the pages where it tells you everything that happens in all the programs.

Yeah, it seems the very in thing thee days. I think Alias must have started the trend since that's when I first saw it. Of course back then it was quite a cool little device, these days it just elicits a huge groan when something cool happens and we then we get the message '24 hours earlier' and we see all the pointless buildup to what we've just seen.

Most programs that resort to this cliche forget that the buildup is meant to show what you just saw in a whole new light, not just show you how it came to pass which is fairly obvious for the most part.

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Of course, most programs that resort to this cliche forget that the buildup is meant to show what you just saw in a whole new light, not just show you how it came to pass which is fairly obvious for the most part.

The best example of how to do this well is the final episode of Arrested Development.

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The writers just don't seem to realise that as what they have just shown us if far more interesting than what they then proceed to show us that it just means that the rest of the episode we're impatiently waiting to get back to the cliffhanger they just gave us to see how it is resolved. The temptation to just fast forward through the flashback grows ever more temping the more they abuse this device.

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There were one or two good aspects to the foreshadowing/starting with the end... like when the wife gets annoyed with the security system voice saying "front door is ajar" and then going back seven weeks to hear her say "Oh, she sounds like fun". If you see what I mean.

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So, second episode was better, had some chuckles throughout. LeBlanc reverted a bit too much into Joey mode though, but was better when he was more reserved. Strange hearing him swear too.

And I never thought I'd hear *that* said on a BBC-produced show!

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So, second episode was better, had some chuckles throughout. LeBlanc reverted a bit too much into Joey mode though, but was better when he was more reserved. Strange hearing him swear too.

And I never thought I'd hear *that* said on a BBC-produced show!

What, "cunt"? It's hardly the first time.

It's not a bad show, but my pet theory is that it's American writers essentially attempting to make a British-style sitcom. Hence the swearing - there's no bigger novelty to Americans in TV than the fact that we can swear on TV here.

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What, "cunt"? It's hardly the first time.

It's not a bad show, but my pet theory is that it's American writers essentially attempting to make a British-style sitcom. Hence the swearing - there's no bigger novelty to Americans in TV than the fact that we can swear on TV here.

And show some T&A. Cunt has been used on loads of shows before, in The Thick of it it was practically a cast member.

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Really? I don't really watch a lot of TV so it did surprise me somewhat.

The whole program does have a distinct air of British production values and 'feel' to it, if you know what I mean - not over-produced, more home-grown? Le Blanc almost feels out of place (despite it being very much a vehicle for him).

Hopefully next week will improve further still.

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Really? I don't really watch a lot of TV so it did surprise me somewhat.

The whole program does have a distinct air of British production values and 'feel' to it, if you know what I mean - not over-produced, more home-grown? Le Blanc almost feels out of place (despite it being very much a vehicle for him).

Hopefully next week will improve further still.

I can't imagine not watching much TV but then choosing to watch Episodes and not The Thick Of It.

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I can't imagine not watching much TV but then choosing to watch Episodes and not The Thick Of It.

:D

The only reason I knew about this at all was because I saw one of the big screens in Time Square with Le Blanc's face all over it after New Year. I never even knew until this thread it had anything to do with the BBC!

I've heard good things about The Thick Of It, I'll try and have a watch.

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The whole point of Matt Le Blanc swearing is that you don't expect it from Joey... I think my favourite line was when he told them not to be forced into casting someone they didn't want. The whole blind wife sub-plot seemed a bit forced though.

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