In late August 2016, I watched the one-off TV special of the timeless 1970s show which takes place in the fictional Grace Brothers Department Store.
I reviewed the original show a while back and when I found out that they were remaking it, I was a bit concerned. Lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice and all that, and the original show was very good. At least, before they started bringing in new characters by the bucketload.
Ultimately, nay, slightly regrettably I found this episode to be disappointing. It didn’t have the same comedic thrust as the original show which seemed so much more snappier than this poor shoddy effort. I went into watching this episode with a hopeful heart that perhaps it could stand on its own merits. Sadly not.
The casting seemed vastly inferior and whoever wrote this seemed to want to cram in as many jokes as humanly possible without breathing space. Mr Humphrey’s ‘I’m Free’ skit didn’t seem very funny when done by Jason Watkins (Nativity!) but then again John Inman’s act is a tough one to follow. And he was considerably more slender than Watkins, too. Ultimately, the half an hour run time seemed to drag and I didn’t really find the episode all that funny.
I think the weakest thing about this episode was that there was no discernible attempt at carving out a plot. The characters just bumbled around. Stuff just happened, until the episode slumped over the finish line. That being said, if you watch this as an affectionate homage to the original, then do so. If looked at it that way, then it was rather fun. It doesn’t have the comic timing of the original or the energy to sustain itself as a full series, however. Leave the past in the past. Please.
MY RATING: ** / *****