Created and Directed by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Robert B Weide, who shares writing duties with Oliver Lansley and Aschlin Ditta. This show has previously been covered on CB and with those credentials alone, my expectation was high. It stars BAFTA multi award winner Olivia Colman and Spaced/Shaun of the Dead‘s Nick Frost to boot.
Well, I’m happy to report it’s utterly delightful. Its very funny and has some stand out performances, not least from Nick Frost as the title character. Sloane is a man down on his luck, re-evaluating his life. A failed marriage and a botched suicide bid, propels him into some increasingly frustrating situations. If something could go wrong for Sloane, it usually does and some besides. Set at the end of the 1960’s in London, I was curious as to how this would fare in terms of grounding us in that environment. I wondered, given the writer, if you could end up falling mid-Atlantic, but it doesn’t. It’s quintessentially British in every way, both the characters and the world they inhabit, especially Sloanie’s old mates that he frequents the pub with (with a superb turn by Peter Serafinowicz).
Granted, the series of misfortune and twists of fate for Sloane isn’t a million miles from some of Larry David’s character’s antics in Curb. But that’s not a cheap or obvious comparison, nor a bad thing. It’s tone is pitched just right and it’s gentle series of comedic events for the hapless Sloane may share David’s fate or frustrations, but not his attitude. Given that, it could feel empty or lack edge or bite and Sloane could so easily become some frustratingly downbeat loser. But not here. As I said, I really have to big up Nick Frost’s performance. He gives us someone who may be a man of those times, but equally a man who feels contemporary and relevant to now. Above all, we feel such sympathy and connection to him. Frost makes him funny, conflicted, yet empathetic and warm. One of life’s triers, with a heart of gold (which generally means our hero usually ends up loosing out in increasingly dire set of circumstances that spiral out of control).
It promises to be a delightful comedy, if this first ep is anything to go by. Oh and it’s nice to see a cameo from actor Guy Siner (ex Allo Allo or Doctor Who‘s ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ to geeks like me).
Mr. Sloane starts tonight (Friday May 232rd 2014) at 10pm on Sky Atlantic HD and apart from being available on Sky’s On Demand service, it is also available on the Now TV platform, iTunes and will be released on DVD later in the year.