Here are thirteen other modern TV comedies set in the recent past...Louisa Mellor, Den Of Geek, 16th February 2018
Written by Lisa McGee (who also wrote London Irish), Derry Girls was commissioned for a second series after just one episode, and you can see why. While the initial idea - the antics of 1990s Northern Irish schoolgirls, juxtaposed with the Troubles - doesn't sound too promising, the series has managed to drag giggles out of chip shops, sullen Ukrainian visitors, fake Virgin Mary miracles and more, with the Troubles mainly relegated to a grim background hum or even, sometimes, a mere traffic-related inconvenience.
The result is a fast-paced comedy flipbook, evoking the likes of The Inbetweeners, Father Ted and Bad Education, with a soundtrack featuring everything from Madonna to Vanilla Ice. While the Derry Girls actors range in ages from 20s to early 30s, they and the lone British schoolboy (Dylan Llewellyn) look the part, and you don't have to suspend disbelief as they clatter about like the Irish St Trinian's, led astray by delinquent, foul-mouthed, boy-crazy Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell).
In the last episode of the series, elastic-faced Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) took over the school magazine (proposed cover line: "Shoes of the world"), her earnest sidekick, Clare (Nicola Coughlan), came out as a lesbian, and fey Orla (Louisa Harland) was declared "gifted" at step aerobics. Other characters include menacing Granda Joe (p]Ian McElhinney]), weary Da Gerry (Tommy Tiernan), intense Ma Mary (Tara Lynne O'Neill), eccentric Aunt Sarah (Kathy Kiera Clarke) and acerbic headmistress-nun Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney). Derry Girls isn't perfect - sometimes the manic, fizzy-pop energy veers too far into ice-cream headache territory - but there's plenty to justify that second series.Barbara Ellen, The Guardian, 11th February 2018
Finishing this week was Derry Girls; Lisa McGee's semi-autobiographical sitcom set during the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990's. When I wrote about the first episode I talked about how my favourite moments involved the family of the comedy's protagonist Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) specifically her parents Mary and Gerry (Tara Lynne O'Neill and Tommy Tiernan) and her granddad Joe (Ian McElhinney). This assertion proved to be an accurate assessment of Derry Girls as I personally felt the family scenes clicked more than when Erin had to overcome a series of problems with her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and hapless friends Clare and Michelle (Nicola Coughlan and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) as well as Michelle's awkward English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn). The scenes with the youngsters felt awfully cartoonish as if they'd been lifted from the pages of a Beano-esque comic strip with the actresses not helping the cause by overplaying their parts. Conversely the scenes between Erin's family were well-constructed and well-played including a subplot in the fourth episode where Mary and sister Sarah (Kathy Kiera Clare) where horrified when they'd learnt Joe had a new lady friend. I similarly enjoyed the fifth episode where the family were going on their annual holiday that coincided with the Orange March and discovered that they were harbouring a stowaway who wanted to cross the border. But it was Thursday's finale that showed the most promise as every character was perfectly utilised and the comedy felt more authentic than it had done throughout the series. Whilst the storyline involving Erin's family and a lost camera shop docket was hilarious as ever, it was the plot revolving around the girls which provided more memorable moments. With Erin single-handedly attempting to run the school's magazine, she stole a story from an anonymous pupil writing about how hard it was to be secretly gay. When the author of the piece was revealed to be Claire, Erin questioned her friendship with her only for the pair to come together to support Orla's strange step-aerobic-themed entry to the school's talent show. This was the first time where an episode of Derry Girls impressed me and I finally saw what others who'd be raving about the comedy all series had seen from the outset. I'm now hoping that the already-announced second will capitalise on the promise evidenced in the series one finale because if it does Derry Girls could be one of Channel 4's best sitcoms of the last few years.Matt, The Custard TV, 10th February 2018
C4 comedy set in the Troubles has won fans for its witty and authentic portrayal of the early 1990s.Henry McDonald, The Guardian, 10th February 2018
Comedy makes room for tragedy with finale plea for love and tolerance.Jasper Rees, The Telegraph, 9th February 2018
The four lead girls (and one unfortunately English boy) have been a brilliantly dysfunctional group, barely held together by self-serving interests and familial ties.The Arts Desk, 9th February 2018
The hit Channel 4 comedy came to a rather poignant end so we caught up with its creator - and the girls themselves - to get the inside story.Sarah Doran, Radio Times, 9th February 2018
It's the last episode in what has been an excellent series, so much so that it gets away with having a 31-year-old (Nicola Coughlan) playing a 16-year-old (Clare Devlin). Tonight, though, it's Erin who comes to the fore, desperate for a juicy exclusive for the school magazine. This arrives in the form of a lesbian scandal. Sister Michael, however, played with wonderfully dry cynicism by Siobhan McSweeney, puts the mockers on that. A lovely finale, tinged with a bitter reminder of the Troubles against which it is set.David Stubbs, The Guardian, 8th February 2018