Episodes is a Showtime series about a British couple whose TV series Lyman’s Boys gets picked up by an American network and their adventures in LA while filming the pilot. It starts out really funny as they discover the special California form of superficiality and hypocracy. Their integrity and honesty are tested to the extreme as their original series gets renamed to Pucks and completely deformed. One of the funnier twists is the imposition of Matt LeBlanc (Joey from friends) in what was previously a venerable, old school master role transformed by Matt’s arrival to a hockey coach. In terms of characters, I really liked the casting of the British couple, and Matt LeBlanc plays very naturally himself as a self-absorbed, sex toy trying to make a TV comeback and shed the Joey image. I also liked Carol, the network manager’s assistant but her boss/lover Merv is a totally unlikeable prick. God help us if all TV execs are such sleazeballs. It is this character and the Matt being Matt that, after a few episodes, made this atypical series disappointingly stereotypical and formulaic. Side comment: There is something fundamentally unjust about a universe where assholes like Merv and Matt and rich and happy both in this show and in real life.
After about Episode 4, the novelty of the show kind of wears off and the stories become a little more predictable. As funny as it started out, I have to admit my deception with the way it ended. It was renewed by Showtime so we’ll see whether the writing picks back up again.