Brand new sitcoms these days tend to be very hit or miss. This week we saw the pilot episode of one based around the judiciary on BBC2 entitled, DEFENDING THE GUILTY.
My initial impression was that I really liked it. It was not perfect and certainly was not a laugh a minute, however there definitely were more things to like about it than to dislike.
I liked the slightly quirky feel to it all. I liked the writing of Keiron Quirke and the pace of the script. In a sitcom it's important to like the protagonists, which I did in the form of characters Will Packham (Will Sharpe) and Caroline (Katherine Parkinson).
Most important of all though for this genre, I found it witty and funny. Do not get me wrong here, it wasn't full of belly laugh moments but at the same time it was genuinely amusing in places without trying too hard.
This episode was based around young and naive trainee barrister Will, trying to get through his working day and impress his new boss Caroline. We soon learnt that there were four trainee barristers (that included Will), competing for just one position at the practice. This led to funny competitive banter between them all. Furthermore, this saw their odds of them getting the job, being written on a whiteboard in the office alongside amusing nicknames. Main character Will came in last with odds of 12-1, with the nickname 'DJ Stupid'.
Will Sharpe gave a great performance as Will Packham. He was slightly awkward and haphazard without ever overplaying it and making himself appear unbelievable.
For me, actress Katherine Parkinson is one of the best female performers on our TV screens at this current time. Everything that she does is superb in my book. She was the best thing in that average Kay Mellor baby drama In the Club, and I also loved Katherine in the recently just ended impressive Channel Four sitcom, Hang Ups.
I can't have been the only one to have found it funny at Caroline's insistence at being called 'mummy' all of the time by Will, can I?
The only aspect of Defending The Guilty that went slightly over my head a bit was the legal narrative stuff. This led to Caroline's and Will's client having the charges against him being dropped. I suspect this fast confusion of events was totally deliberate though on behalf of the writer so it is not really a justifiable criticism.
All-in-all, an amusing sitcom that was a bit different. On the basis of this pilot it deserves a full series and I for one hope it gets one!
- Watched on BBC Two. 19/09/2018