Review: PEN15

Review originally published by The Custard TV in November 2020.

It’s the year 2000 and best friends Maya and Anna have just started middle school, full of optimism for this new chapter of their lives. We follow them as they navigate their way through the social jungle of sleepovers, pool parties, school plays and first kisses. And since it’s the turn of the millennium, we also have plenty of rainbow gel pens, ultra-shiny lip gloss and AOL Instant Messenger in the mix. But PEN15 has an even more defining feature than its early noughties setting. The major trick up its sleeve is that young Maya and Anna are played by PEN15’s creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, who are both in their early 30s.

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Review: I Hate Suzie

Review originally published by The Custard TV in September 2020.

Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble prove themselves to be a dream team as the co-creators (Piper stars and Prebble writes) of Sky Atlantic comedy-drama I Hate Suzie. The pair previously worked together on Secret Diary of a Call Girl and 2012 play The Effect, and Prebble has most recently written for Succession.

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Review: The Politician Season 2

Review originally published by VODzilla in July 2020.

Has there ever been a character as frustrating as Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) at the centre of a TV show? In Season 1 of The Politician, we followed the relentlessly ambitious high schooler’s campaign to become student body president, with assassination attempts, suspected kidnappings and fake cases of cancer along the way. The season finale unexpectedly took us ahead to a 20-something-year-old Payton deciding to run for state senate in New York, and so Season 2 follows this significantly higher stakes campaign, which sees him challenge an established politician with a scandalous secret. The show’s intention, if it continues, is to accompany Payton on political campaigns in different stages of his life (another is teased in the Season 2 finale), all likely building up to him one day running for president. 

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Review: The Other One

Review originally published by VODzilla in June 2020.

Less than two minutes into The Other One, Colin Walcott is dead. A man suffering a heart attack at his own birthday party might not sound like an hilarious opening to a comedy, but Colin’s sudden demise is what sets up the show’s unique premise – that, for a long time, he’s had two different women in his life, Tess (Rebecca Front) and Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran), who only learn of each other’s existence after his death.

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Review: Schitt’s Creek

Review originally published by VODzilla in May 2020.

Back when it launched on Canadian TV network CBC in 2015, followed by Pop TV in the US, riches-to-rags sitcom Schitt’s Creek (created by father and son Eugene and Dan Levy) attracted a small but devoted following. It won a whole new legion of fans when it was added to Netflix in 2017. Now, with the sixth and final season available to stream, it provides a perfect ending to what has become a truly standout comedy of the past decade.

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