The Midnight Beast - In The Press

Comical band The Midnight Beast are to release their new album Schtick Heads on the 2nd June, with signing events planned in Manchester and London for that week.

British Comedy Guide, 24th May 2014

Sadly, while Stef, Ash and Dru can be hilarious in musical mode, they're no great shakes as comic actors. The first series seemed to know this, building each episode around a key musical moment.

Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 24th January 2014

The idea for comedy music group The Midnight Beast - comprised of Stefan Abingdon, Drew Wakely and Ashley Horne - first started life in a kebab shop.

Written by Susanna Lazarus. Radio Times, 23rd January 2014

E4's The Midnight Beast began a second series last night. The comedy-pop band of the same name first won fans for their YouTube video parodies of artists such as Ke$ha, before making the leap into this self-titled sitcom in 2012.

It features the band members playing versions of themselves, wacky sub-plots and original music numbers, so unfavourable comparisons to Flight of the Conchords and The Mighty Boosh are inevitable. They are also unfair, because while The Midnight Beast isn't as original as those shows, it's not aimed at the same audience either. Judging by this second series commission, the TMB's teen followers are well satisfied with their TV incarnation.

This episode made a self-deprecating reference to the gang's youth appeal. Having been employed to organise a 16th-birthday party, Stefan, Dru and Ashley tried - and failed - to come up with an appealing teen-friendly theme: "A Twilight party? What do you think I am? Fifteen years old, three years ago?"

There were also many more dud gags besides, but a scene in which Stefan visited a frontman support group almost compensated. Any sitcom that includes roles for both Simon Farnaby from Yonderland and Stella Street's Phil Cornwell, can't be all bad.

Ellen E. Jones, The Independent, 23rd January 2014

As one character remarks about the titular comedy group: "These idiots look like they understand teenagers. I bet they even know how to twerk." One wonders if a similar conversation happened in the E4 offices when they commissioned a second series of this musical sitcom.

Appropriately for a trio most famous for a 2009 parody video (TiK ToK by Ke$ha, remember?), this first episode is filled with references to outdated memes and fads. As the boys try to arrange a birthday party for a teenage girl, they realise they're not quite young enough for the yoof.

Not that the humour's got any more mature. The songs largely miss the mark, but it all builds to a pleasingly crude final gag. Strictly not for grown-ups.

Jonathan Holmes, Radio Times, 23rd January 2014

It's difficult second series time for Stef, Dru and Ash, collectively known as musical mickey-takers The Midnight Beast.

The mix of spot-on pop caricatures and shambolic sitcom is much the same as first time out with one difference: the boys are starting to feel their age.

Have they got their finger on what's cool and what's not any more? As they set about organising a birthday party as a way of earning some readies, the lads suspect they might be losing their touch.

Hanging out with hopeless neighbour Craig (Simon Farnaby, of Horrible Histories and Yonderland fame) isn't helping any.

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 23rd January 2014

Simon Farnaby, 40, was in The Mighty Boosh and Horrible Histories. He returns as a tortoise-loving neighbour in the new series of E4's Midnight Beast.

Written by Andrew Williams. Metro, 23rd January 2014

Comedy crooners Dru, Ash and Stef are back for a second series of musical bellendry. Stef is still reeling from his breakup with Zoe - she's now dating Skepta-esque rapper Sexual P, who taunts Stef with blatant braggadocio. With no record deal to speak of, the boys find themselves working at a former bingo hall and organising a 16-year-old's birthday party. With laughs few and far between and dated yoof culture references, it's a subpar opener from the one-time YouTube sensations.

Hannah J Davies, The Guardian, 23rd January 2014

I caught up with the band to ask them all about how The Midnight Beast came to be, and what to expect from the second series.

Written by Elliot Gonzalez. I Talk Telly, 20th January 2014

Having enjoyed The Midnight Beast to distraction - what's not to love about a 21st-century Monkees with a sharp line in pop music parody? - it's sad to report that the south-east London likely lads let themselves down with a final episode that was simply a loosely linked compilation of their best songs from the previous five shows.

Come on boys, we've got YouTube (oh the irony, that's where they started) for that sort of thing. These boys deserve to come back - but not until they've got enough material to fill a whole series.

Keith Watson, Metro, 10th August 2012

The Beast's series finale is basically a clips show - one that focuses on The Midnight Beast's famed music videos. Not a bad idea, as the fake promos are probably the most successful aspect of this show. It's never easy for meagre TV budgets to compete with the megabucks music video directors have to chuck around, but these cheap and very cheerful ones manage far better than most. So sit back and enjoy the complete versions of Medium Pimpin', Strategy Wanking and other "hits".

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 8th August 2012

There's friction in the band this week. Ash is warned that his randy gland is among the issues causing the fissure, as is Dru's distinct lacking in the same department. A romantic intervention in the caff seems to have a temporary effect, until Dru's new love interest proves less a steadying influence than an obsessive loon. With a hit rate of about one in 20 gags, the sitcom from these YouTube sensations is considerably less likely to grab the 40-odd million views it has had online.

Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 25th July 2012

The Midnight Beast are to perform at HMV on Oxford Street on Monday 13th August 2012, plus sign copies of their new DVD.

British Comedy Guide, 23rd July 2012

I have stuck with E4's Flight Of The Conchords-esque teen comedy. I still wish it was better written, have to say. The trio are very likeable and most of their songs are fun (if getting slightly repetitive in style), but each episode's story and the jokes haven't grabbed me. It's a pleasant diversion, but nothing I'm in a rush to watch.

Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 21st July 2012

Think The Flight of the Conchords reimagined by whoever was responsible for that 'Being a Dickhead's Cool' hipster-spoof and you're somewhere near the tone of this show. Sadly, while the songs are okay in a one-trick-pony sort of way, there isn't an equivalent degree of charm; this trio are just harder to like than Bret, Jemaine and Murray. Still, it delivers a few sniggers even if it's hard to see these YouTube sensations ever resonating like our amiable Kiwi chums. Tonight, a tussle with an allegedly cooler rival band (who weirdly, resemble pantomime metal losers The Darkness) causes The Beast to reappraise their own image in search of integrity. Sadly, they premiere this new direction on a kids' TV show. With, if not exactly hilarious, then mildly amusing consequences.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 19th July 2012

After having their image (or lack thereof) mocked by rival band Shadow Rack, who look just as ridiculous and desperate but at least display some uniformity, the boys set about sorting out their style. With a live appearance on national telly looming it's pretty clear they're going to get things drastically wrong. Bit of a weak week storywise but still some good lines ("Integrity? That's not even a word") and, apart from a well-done but hopelessly out of date Rage Against The Machine parody, some funny songs.

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 18th July 2012

Our hapless hip-hopsters are drawn into the murky world of a video artist, as this grungey new sitcom continues. Unsavoury characters are the order of the day, while the band's comedy songs including Medium Pimpin' are the undoubted highlights. But fans of Spaced might have a feeling of déjà vu...

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 12th July 2012

The music's great, the three leads are irresistible, and the production's slick and visually smart... but it just wasn't funny whenever The Midnight Beast weren't performing.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 7th July 2012

Set in a slacker flat in which lads flop around eating pizza The Midnight Beast was not concerned with glamour a la Made In Chelsea, but its characters were all the more likable for it.

Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 6th July 2012

Can E4's new sitcom from internet hit The Midnight Beast make a successful switch from web short to 30-minute TV show?

Written by Scott Bryan. The Guardian, 5th July 2012

If you've ever seen Flight of the Conchords, then the format for The Midnight Beast will be a very familiar one: a sitcom about a failing, penniless band interspersed with their own brand of comedy songs/music videos. And, while their compositions may not reach the lofty hilarity heights of Bret and Jemaine's offerings, Midnight Beast still has much to recommend it. Songs about ninjas and kicking a shark in the face are surprisingly catchy and entertaining, even though the subject matter is well-trodden internet ground (along with bacon, cats and unicorns). With Midnight Beast's drug-addled 'band manager' Chevy, token crazy neighbour Sloman and the band's compulsive scrounging for food and money, there's plenty of comedy mileage in the concept, even though it doesn't feel particularly original.

Dylan Lucas, Time Out, 5th July 2012

There's a ready-made audience for this bumpy slackercom, and a big one too. The YouTube channel of comedy group The Midnight Beast has had 40 million views to date.

For this six-part series, Dru Wakely, Stefan Abingdon and Ashley Horne star as high-rise musicians living from one blagged pizza, and one low-profile gig, to the next. It's a mashup of The Inbetweeners and Flight of the Conchords; the songs, especially I Kicked a Shark in the Face, bring it alive, but the infill could do with some wit.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 5th July 2012

A poor bunch of comedy musicians dream of superstardom: so far, so Flight Of The Conchords. But YouTube faves Stef, Dru and Ash (aka The Midnight Beast) won't be knocking Jemaine and Bret off their pedestal, as this is brighter, breezier and geared firmly towards the Skins/Fresh Meat generation. Though people of all ages will find their slick parodies of commercial pop - including dance-floor 'anthem' Ninja and the sexually charged Begging - have a dorky appeal.

Sharon Lougher and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 5th July 2012

Time to see if the millions of hits the titular comedy band have generated on YouTube can translate to viewing figures. This gets off to a great start, as we're introduced to the combo, playing a poverty-stricken, unsigned version of themselves ("We're unsigned because corporations suck ... and because we're shit!"), then it's straight into a cracking music video of them dressed as cardboard tower-block Transformers, rapping about kicking sharks in the face. Like major reference point Flight Of The Conchords, they're too good to pretend to be this bad for long.

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 4th July 2012

The Midnight Beast have promised that their new E4 comedy series will be full of nudity, "eightsomes" and "a lot of crazy things".

Digital Spy, 4th July 2012

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