Filling the void left by Ricky Gervais’s Derek, new comedy-drama The Mimic launched on Wednesday night on Channel 4 and succeeded both in showcasing the star’s huge talent and introducing a storyline loaded with potential.
‘AN ORDINARY MAN WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY TALENT’
Written by Russell Brand’s old right-hand man, Matt Morgan, and starring Terry Mynott (from last year’s Very Important People), The Mimic follows Martin Hurdle – an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent, for when he’s not carrying out his humdrum life as a maintenance man, Martin is mimicking celebrities. However, Martin’s dull existence may soon be livened by the arrival of an eighteen-year-old boy called Steven, who may or may not be his son.
‘A SLOW BURNER’
The Mimic is definitely a slow burner and, if I’m honest, my faith in Mynott’s capabilities made me persevere as, other than a few scenes referring to the protagonist’s possible fatherhood, this debut episode seemed to lack a plot somewhat. It set up the storyline but didn’t feature much of it. However, I will not judge Morgan – I understand the difficulty of the dreaded ‘Episode One’, where the balance between plot progression and character establishment is tricky to strike (see the fourth paragraph of my review of BBC2 sitcom Heading Out to gauge my empathy with sitcom writers embarking on a new series). Plus, to reiterate, I see the storyline as ‘loaded with potential’ so, now that we are familiar with most of the characters and their nuances, we can look forward to the subsequent four episodes revealing to us the either blossoming or tumultuous relationship between Martin and Steven. Hopefully.
Anyway, even if the plot didn’t grip you, you could still marvel at Mynott’s mimicry (perhaps I’ve pushed the alliteration too far?). The extent of his imitations – which see him pinpoint the customary voices of everyone from Terry Wogan to Ronnie Corbett, James Earl Jones to Morgan Freeman (the latter two of which Martin amusingly depicted having a dispute over who is the most fitting to narrate a nature documentary) – is most impressive and makes the axing of Very Important People (in which he starred with the equally talented Morgana Robinson) seem even more ludicrous.
MARTIN & JEAN?
Needless to say, I am looking forward to forthcoming episodes. It will be interesting to witness the development of the relationships within the programme – whether that’s between Martin and Steven or he and his best friend, Jean. In fact, despite it apparently not being part of the main plot, it is the friendship between Martin and Jean which I’m particularly curious about: will they remain platonic or will it develop in to a more romantic bond – à la Ross & Rachel? The pair are undeniably close but there doesn’t seem to be anything there to suggest that they will become…closer. Perhaps it’s just how we’ve been conditioned to view male and female friends in sitcom.
So, overall, The Mimic is an enjoyable show – it would be even if it only featured the impersonations. In fact, if you accept that they drive the comedy while the paternity plot provides the drama, you should find that you enjoy it, too. And if you don’t, just stick around for Episode 2 – according to the British Comedy Guide, it sees the pace much improved.
The Mimic is on Wednesdays at 10:00pm on Channel 4
What did you think of The Mimic? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer
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