I was not that impressed by Reunited - Mike Bullen's pilot for a potential comedy drama series about former housemates meeting at a reunion eight years on. Rather than resurrecting dormant friendships, the emotional scars re-open, jealousies resurface and old flames are quickly fanned.
Although Reunited was well constructed and amusingly written, I can't say the pilot left me clamouring for more. The characters just weren't sufficiently appealing. My tolerance for self-satisfied, middle-class thirtysomethings is never strong at the best of times, but this lot struck me as particularly unpleasant - not to mention unbelievable. Even Ed Byrne failed to convince as a charmer, and Ed Byrne is nothing if not charming. I was also deeply offended at the criminal waste of casting Jemima Rooper in a thankless and insipid girlfriend role.Harry Venning, The Stage, 5th July 2010
This pilot will probably win a proper commission, which wouldn't be a bad thing. It wasn't badly written (by Cold Feet's Mike Bullen); some fine lines, plenty of frotting looks and the promise of much sex, and you can easily see the overall idea, which is This Life for the Facebook generation. Two worries. First, without there having yet been the space to expand the characters, we've simply seen their situations, and frankly it's hard to care about what happens to any of them; hard, actually, to even like any of them, with the possible exception of Ed Byrne, and even his charmer of a failing photographer - lopsided grin, bedroom eyes, and Ed's doing a fine job following Dylan Moran into this territory - is too unreconstructed to ring quite true. Second, it's this Facebook generation thing, which actually makes you query the whole premise (and, actually, much of Facebook.) Were they really ever such good friends? They've even been brought together under false circumstances, Hannah toying with the idea of ruining one of their forthcoming marriages. As Sara's sister, Fran (Sarah Jane Potts) says, counselling her vulnerable sibling against getting back in with a group she hasn't heard from for eight years and who are likely to hurt her again (while also, of course, shagging one of them), "You can't say that you just 'lost touch'. Because friends don't lose touch." Fair point, actually.Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 4th July 2010
It all seemed to last much longer than an hour and this was just the pilot. It hasn't got the legs to make it to a series (which, no doubt, means one will be commissioned immediately).Andrea Mullaney, The Scotsman, 2nd July 2010
Was it funny? Kind of. There were some good lines ("Camomile?" "Nurofen...") and some easy, unforced comedy that seemed to arise naturally; then again there was a woeful scene with a car salesman that made Lesbian Vampire Killers seem sophisticated.Graeme Thomson, The Arts Desk, 1st July 2010
Reunited couldn't more conspicuously have been a pilot if it had been wearing flying goggles and a leather helmet, but for some reason nobody seemed to want to mention the fact. Mike Bullen's script about student housemates meeting up again after eight years was described in the Radio Times as a "comedy drama", which rather suggested that within the hour Mike Bullen would have tied up at least one of the mop-head of loose ends he'd assembled. But as tick followed tock it dawned on you that Hannah's agony over whether Martin still loved her or Belinda's guilty secret about "Spanish lessons" or Rob's odd-couple affair with the judgemental Fran were not going to get any firm resolution before the final credits rolled, and you lost your only remaining motive for watching. It was a bit like being told a shaggy dog story only to have the teller smile enigmatically at the end and say he might deliver the punchline in eight months' time, provided the overnights turned out to be good enough.
I'm not keeping my fingers crossed myself, because this looked like a parody of Cold Feet-style drama, rather than a fresh product by the man who helped create it. In fact, what it really looked like was one of those narrative adverts that take their inspiration from Cold Feet-style drama, a Gold Blend world in which every line is silkily knowing, or involves embarrassment as well rehearsed as a dance routine. It had the same commercial compression in the storytelling, so that when Martin (on the brink of marriage and still nursing a grievance over a now ancient infidelity) spotted his old flame in the pub he froze in the doorway and a little shimmer on the soundtrack did the emotional shorthand for you in about two seconds flat, no characterisation required.
This was an ensemble affair though, so Gold Blend won't quite cover it. Before long, a Magners cider gang turned up, perky in their backchat, up for fun, breaking off for bits of man-hugging and girlish giggling. Hannah was at the centre of it, but there were other storylines circling: needy Sarah, who announced that she'd found Jesus and Belinda and Danny, who were three children into a marriage and - on her side at least - beginning to get twitchy about it. And then there was Rob, a serious miscalculation by the likeable Irish comedian Ed Byrne, who had somehow been persuaded to take on the role of Rob, the feckless, notionally "charming" one. "If you still want to punch me I'd understand," he said perkily, when he met Martin in the loo (it was Rob who slept with Hannah when he shouldn't have). Martin declined, but I'd have been more than happy to do it for him if I'd been on the spot.Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 1st July 2010
It's utterly repellent, which probably means it will be adored by the kind of people who pack the fiction bestseller charts with slabs of chicklit-sh*t. Expect a series next year.The Herald, 1st July 2010
I imagine that the circle of friends brought back together by Reunited were blander than the majority of viewers' real-life acquaintances - who also have to get by without the assistance of a script.Andrew Pettie, The Telegraph, 30th June 2010
Some scripts are easier to write than others. This one came together quite quickly and didn't change massively between the first and final draft. That's either a sign of extreme laziness on my part or - hopefully - an indication that we were in good shape from the start.Mike Bullen, BBC Blogs, 30th June 2010