Upstart Crow - Series 2 Page 2

Upstart Crow. Will Shakespeare (David Mitchell). Copyright: BBC.

Upstart Crow

Sitcom about the life of William Shakespeare, written by Ben Elton. David Mitchell stars as the bard

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Tuesday 17th October 2017, 3:42pm
  • England
  • 14,331 posts
Quote: gappy @ 17th October 2017, 3:20 PM

I've quite enjoyed this show, in an unchallenging, cosy way. The jokes are decent, if repetitive, most of the performances are good, and I quite enjoy a lot of the Shakespeare references. However, I really don't think it should have gone to a third series, I feel as though the seam has been mined.

I think it finished on a high, so have mixed feelings about a third series. I suppose Billy wrote enough for Ben to take the piss out of?

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Aaron

  • Sunday 29th October 2017, 10:58pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 67,993 posts

I really enjoyed Series 2. Full of lovely jokes and comments on the modern world. Most importantly, it's funny.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Tuesday 26th December 2017, 10:21am [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,472 posts

Christmas special was okay, as good as most eps in series 2 but not notably better. I expected better for a Christmas special tbh. That should be your shining star episode and it wasn't. The stand out episode of the sitcom is still the Macbeth one in series 1. That should be your Christmas Day special, hold it back for the prime slot, not put out a samey one. It wasn't even chronologically correct as it wasn't performed until at least 1600 seven years after Marlowe's death, Twelfth Night about the same time I think.

It's a good sitcom but it suffered too many Eltonisms last night. It doesn't bode that well for series 3 because it's clearly getting a bit repetitive. Elton's tied to his formula as always and it starts to grate after a while. He needs to forget the middling comedies and go for the remaining big hitters now, Hamlet, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Richard III.

Something in Elton's plotting has to give, if he keeps Marlowe and Greene in then he's going against history. I'm also surprised Kyd and Jonson haven't had roles when the history books say they knew and collaborated with WS. There is no evidence at all that Marlowe or Green even met Shakespeare. The whole 'Upstart crow beautified with our feathers' remark was written by Greene to warn Marlowe of a new rival about to steal his crown.

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Thursday 28th December 2017, 11:02pm
  • England
  • 14,331 posts

Pretty much as I expected. Not a riotous gag a minute, just gentle humour with Mark Heap making it all worth while.

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gb901

  • Wednesday 12th September 2018, 8:48pm
  • norwich, United Kingdom
  • 290 posts

Series three is far too "right on" imo.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Thursday 13th September 2018, 5:13am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,472 posts

Ep 3 was the first one of this series I'd seen. It seemed to spring up with no notice. I thought it was maybe the cleverest one I've yet watched but somehow irritating as well especially as he'd already done a Merchant of Venice based ep. It's getting hard not to view Elton himself as the hateful ultra successful Jew of lore.

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 13th September 2018, 6:33pm
  • England
  • 503 posts

Series 3, Episode 3, (Merchant of Venice) was as good an episode of this excellent sitcom as I've seen. It did, however, come off the rails right at the end.

After satirising Comic Relief's policy of intermixing sidesplitting comedy with heartbreaking tragedy, Ben Elton gives us an entirely unnecessary scene in which a young boy with Down's Syndrome recites Shylock's "Do we not bleed?" speech to his classmates.

Yes, Ben. We get the message. We really really do. The snag is that anybody who didn't get the message the first time (decades ago, in most cases) they heard Shylock deliver that speech is highly unlikely to get the message (decades later, in most cases) when they hear a member of any other oppressed minority deliver it.

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beaky

  • Friday 14th September 2018, 9:55am
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,294 posts

For me this series is the best yet. I agree with Rood Eye (as usual) about the boy with Down's Syndrome reciting Shylock's speech, which in retrospect seems over the top, but at the time I found it moving, and all the more surprising for being in a comedy. Ben Elton's regained his sitcom laurels. Love the titles animations, too!

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Saturday 15th September 2018, 9:49am [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,472 posts

It puzzled me why he was being used as the differences between Down's syndrome and Judaism are quite vast and the similarities not obvious. Elton is bold in his writing so fair play if there's a point to be made even if it passed me by. But the fact he is so on top of everything and never misses a chance to make a point irritates me more and more. Less is more, Ben. It would make your sitcoms a little less constructed and more natural looking imo. I thought the actor bit was by far the best and helped the narrative flow until it was all held up by the point making.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Thursday 20th September 2018, 8:19pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,472 posts

Last night's ep was one of the best yet, not as good as S1's MacBuff ep for story but stuffed with verbal wit and cleverness. I thought it was a step up from last week's even which was excellent. This one barely moved from one room, had all the cast except Greene in and the verbal sparring was relentless. Probably the best scripted yet though I've yet to see eps 1&2 of this series.

Those not watching because of the subject are missing a treat. Though I suspect Elton's heavy debunking might upset many Shakespeare authorship purists who ARE watching because of the subject. It's great stuff, it suits Elton to a tee but I wish he'd get to the big hitter tragedies and not be so stuck on the comedies as he has been.

Chronologically he's sort of attempted to get things in their right order except he's blaringly way past the writing of Richard III without mentioning it. There's enough villainy, action, plotting and famous lines in that one for its own series never mind a single ep. Maybe it shows Elton up as not a true fan of the bard but an opportunist who knew some of the O level standards but never really revelled in his works on stage or screen. I'd suggest he watch The Theatre of Blood movie to see a piece portrayed by artists who revelled in his masterpiece tragedies.

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beaky

  • Thursday 20th September 2018, 11:53pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,294 posts

Elton's back on top form. yesterday's episode brilliant, stuffed full of jokes and clever references. It's rare that I watch a sitcom and actually laugh out loud.

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