Some of comedy's hottest names have been busy working on new sitcom pilots for BBC iPlayer, airing in September, with the hope of these creative projects later being picked up for a television series.Becca Moody, Moody Comedy, 19th October 2016
Undoubted non-comedy of the week was We the Jury, an alleged piece of humour that actually ran out of ideas before the end of its pilot, which is going some. Did anyone at the BBC actually watch this before it aired? I ask in a spirit of genuine inquiry rather than nastiness, because they've just given me Motherland.
Purportedly a half-hour take on jury service, it featured cliched characters and surreal madness; almost never a winning mix. Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov is the only successful example. Written in 1859, it's only about three thousand times funnier and more interesting, and it was in Russian. Had We the Jury popped up on Radio 4 Extra at half-four in the morning - I'm always awake about then, musing on different lives - I would have had to put on slippers, race to the loo and swallow bleach. Again: did anyone watch this before it aired?Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 11th September 2016
In my last post I looked at three of the sitcom revivals that the BBC have produced but alongside these pieces, this new season also includes five new sitcom pilots. Over the next two weeks, all five of these shows will air and in this article I will pass judgement on them all.Matt Donnelly, The Custard TV, 6th September 2016
It's easy to see how this jury could return for a six-part series without ever coming close to reaching a verdict. And that commission should probably happen, if there's any justice...Steve Bennett, Chortle, 5th September 2016
It's William's 30th birthday and he gets the best present he could have hoped for: a summons for jury service. Unfortunately, the letter arrived weeks ago but his mum hid it from him so she could present it along with his birthday presents, and it seems he's due in court in half an hour. He mustn't be late and deny himself an "opportunity to stand up for justice!" He's in such a rush that he attends court still wearing his BIRTHDAY BOY! badge.
This is a silly, surreal pilot comedy about the misery of jury duty. But the judge isn't miserable. It's her last case before retirement and she's determined to relax and enjoy it: "Yes folks, it's a murder trial! Yes folks, murder is the dream!"
The jurors soon get to know one another, and bicker and bond over the case and whether it's OK to discuss it if you meet another juror in a nightclub. Maybe it'd be OK, "like if a butcher told another butcher about a murder..."Julie McDowall, The National (Scotland), 5th September 2016
Imagine being so excited about jury duty you cartwheel your way to the courtroom? William can - his call-up falls on his 30th birthday, scratching a lifelong itch for dispensing justice. His co-jurors in James Acaster's comedy are equally enthusiastic, eagerness arrested only by self-centred idiocy. The crime is murder; sadly, their concentration is focused exclusively on how they're depicted by the courtroom artist. A delightfully off-kilter highlight of the BBC's sitcom season.Mark Gibbings-Jones, The Guardian, 5th September 2016
As one would expect from Acaster there are some gloriously well-chosen lines of dialogue.Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 4th September 2016