Saturday, November 07, 2009

Campus then.

Hmm. Felt a bit weird about it - seemed a lot colder than Green Wing, and as ever, there's a period of mourning for all the funny stuff in the script (I don't mean mine necessarily) that didn't make it in. Although the second half worked better, as the story kicked in, and some of the characters got a bit more breathing space.

I should probably say though, this is the whole thing about airing pilots - if it does get a series, you do have a chance to regroup, have another look at the material and decide what worked and what didn't. The whole point of the Comedy Showcase, really, is to experiment, and push things in a direction you wouldn't necessarily take in a series.

Anyway, what did you think?

*braces self*

Sam Wollaston reviews 'Campus' for the Guardian

Caitlin Moran in the Times

34 comments:

Rose said...

I rather liked it. The swearing was a little much, but I loved the visuals, especially the more surreal stuff.

It certainly has potential and I'd definitely watch if it gets a series.

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

I thought it was fun. I suppose unsurprisingly it was quite Green-wingy.

My favourite bit was the scene with the vice chancellor in a dress on the desk and the sock monkey. Had me in absolute stitches.

Simon Dunn said...

I've no watched it yet, I'm saving it for tonight - if it's on 4OD that is.

Can you tell us a bit about the writing process of it?

james henry said...

Same as Green Wing really: put together like a sketch show, where all the writers send in loosely connected scenes, and Victoria Pile pulls it all together, (some of) the actors improvise around it, the end result is about an hour too long, then it all gets cut back to fit the slot.

Hannah said...

I quite liked it - I expected to laugh more than I did, but then I do remember taking a while to get into Green Wing as well.

I did like the voice overs, but not so fond of the Vice Chancellor's monologuing.

Hmm...think I need to rewatch it again in a few days.

Simon Dunn said...

Just watched it. Really enjoyed it, though I agree the second half was better than the first. Pretty sure this was because I was still getting used to the characters.

My favourite scene was Jonty talking to the suicidal student.

Anonymous said...

i wrote pig rape - odd anus and came up with the name matt beer. so the guardian totally love me then x

james henry said...

I'm glad we didn't get round to changing Matt Beer's name.

Maud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maud said...

My question is this: presumably the staff have been given two months' pay rather than just one. So why don't they just not pay them next month? Or is it annual pay? That seems unlikely.

I generally enjoyed it, I'll certainly watch it if it gets a full series. Partly because I'm at university at the moment and it's always fun to have parallels of your own life on telly. I agree that it lacks the warmth of Green Wing though. I can't really see myself caring as much about these characters as I did about those, but I'm sure that over the course of a series things would be different. After the first ep of Green Wing I would never have thought I'd grow to be as fond of Guy as I did. A cautious thumbs up.

Dan said...

I quite liked it (speaking as someone who never really got into Green Wing for various reasons). I would watch more if Ch4 gave it a series.

If you're interested: http://danowen.blogspot.com/2009/11/comedy-showcase-campus.html

Imo said...

Enjoyed the second half more and it seemed to want to carry on over it's 30 minute time slot. Hopefully if it is commissioned (and if they commissioned Free Agents last year, then I can't this missing the boat) it will get a longer time slot.

Did feel it might need a few more characters in the mix.

It left me wanting to see more, and they used my name - Imogen which is always good.

james henry said...

Thanks for review Dan, which I thought was fair.

Imo: we were specifically going for the Imogen demographic, so that's good to hear.

Khyan said...

It did feel very similar to Green Wing; the loose sense of story, the sketch-like nature of each scene, the bizarre and outrageous characters. Some scenes were certainly stronger than others, but I liked all the characters. Everything that came out of Andy Nyman's mouth was golden.

I watched it with a couple of my housemates, one of whom is the biggest Green Wing fan, and we all laughed a lot. I think I may enjoy GW and Campus more approaching them as sketch shows, because I'm often left wanting a stronger impetus for the episodes/series. That aside, I Lol'd far more than most 'sitcoms' or 'sketchshows' can warrent.

I would be very surprised if this doesn't get picked up for series.

rozzietheaussie said...

hmm. I loved the concept being set in a university and everything. It felt a bit like Green wing / Teachers. It seemed like Joseph Milson's character was a bit like Mac/Guy rolled into one which whilst I enjoyed this it was a shame to not have someone he could banter with.

I would also like to see more likeable characters if you manage to get a series made. I quite liked the guy who paid everyone twice by mistake, (sorry rubbish with names) and he reminded me a lot of Martin in a way, but even then I felt like there wasn't anything to hold it together.

I quite liked the plot but I feel it does need to pull a lot further away from Green wing mostly in a character wise development above anything else.

It has the potential to do brilliantly if you can get a series from it but I think it does need a fair bit of work

Good luck :)

Vicus Scurra said...

Only luke warm from me, I didn't do any lols, and found it too disjointed. I will watch it if there is a series. Good luck.

Ellie said...

Can't watch it until it's online.

(It's helpful that I'd tell you that, isn't it.)

chatterbox said...

I recorded it and watched it tonight. Wasn't sure at first, and in fact I left it last night, and came back to it today. It took a while for me to find a way in, but by the end I was settling in nicely, just as it came to an end. If you get a series, I'll certainly be there waiting.

Ziggy said...

I enjoyed it, but would agree with rozzie the aussie that the characterisation needs to pull away from GW. I felt as though I was spending most of the episode going “Oh he’s clearly the Guy character” (Matt Beer) and “oh he’s the Sue White character” (Jonty de Wolfe). (That might just mean I watch too much GW.) I did enjoy the hapless accountant and the accoms officer. Are they meant to be interested in each other, because I thought they were quite sweet.

I can see myself enjoying this a lot though, I like the anarchy / randomness of the humour, the disjointedness of the storytelling and the potential for interesting characters. Good luck.

Valerie said...

Stuck in the US, all I could see was the youtube clips, but my husband and I thought they were hilarious, which augurs well for our reaction to the rest of it.

Eleanor said...

Watched it again on 4oD, the second viewing was better - mainly because I was familiar with the characters and wasn't asking "who the heck are all these people?" and playing catch up...as you do.
So I could follow the story better.
The humour stands up to multiple viewings (always good), and there are new things to find each time (much like GW).
I think I may prefer this to Green Wing, when it gets a series, as it has the potential to have a bit more depth to it => I liked the accountant character too. It's nice to have a nice person (who isn't a total victim) in a comedy like this.
Not so keen on the repetition of the female Sue White character ... too predictable how she's gonna behave: viciously. Good in GW, but would prefer a kinder variation in Campus rather than a character copy. Heck, you've got Jonty De Wolfe trying to talk students into suicide - I think that fills you evil darkness quota for the episode. :)

If they don't make it, they're criminal!

Adrian Pegg said...

James,

I'm certain this is one line you didn't write - but someone at Monicker should be ashamed of themselves ...

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff106/ajpegg/Campus.jpg

Please pass this on.

Good start otherwise though I thought ...

james henry said...

Ahem. I shall pass that on to the appropriate authorities, and the miscreant responsible will be given a fair trial, then hung from the neck until he or she be dead.

The Bureauista said...

I agree that Jonty talking to the suicidal student was one of the highlights. I liked the three main characters but wished there were more secondary characters to pad things out, as in Green Wing. On the other hand, half an hour isn't much time to introduce them all - the second female character, whose name I can't remember, barely registered. Also wasn't too keen on Jonty's obvious similarity to David Brent, but otherwise liked his antics.

Will definitely watch if there is a series.

james henry said...

Woo, the suicidal student scene was pretty much all I had in it! Nice to see that seems to gave gone down well.

Adrian Pegg said...

Heh

Thanks James. And good luck with getting the series.

Ellie said...

I just watched Campus for the first time on 4oD, and I really like it! I laughed out loud a couple of times (which is saying something, because I was watching it alone. The bit where Jonty tenderly and intimately encourages a student's suicide had my ribs aching), mainly at completely unexpected quirks like Jonty cleaning Matt's ear with his finger or Matt squirting coffee through his teeth as he cruises a female student.

In every comedy that chooses to be "meh, never mind" when it comes to worries about being offensive, I reckon there's always a wee bit of being unable to resist the obvious (e.g. using wildly un-PC terms or glueing two swearwords together), but Campus balanced out its fair share of that with genuinely funny "meh, never mind" bits, like "I have a dream! And not the bullshit one about negros holding hands".

Given that Campus knowingly and happily shares so much with Green Wing (and by that I mean you funky writers, and Jonathan Whitehead whose boundy, itchy music is so distinctive!), I bet it'd do well with a bigger blanket of surrealism. I mean, Campus is all these surreal personalities in a grey, gritty setting; which I bet was sort of the point, but it confuses my tiny skull. The setting could get away with being more colourful and unrealistic, and generally so much faster -- to the point of swinging Green Wing-esque motion sickness.

Are you guys just testing the characters equally before landing on a main protagonist, or d'you prefer multiple spotlights? Viewers might be in danger of getting lost/detached if they don't have a character that can hold their hand. But I do love all the characters -- and the show; it's bloomin' funny. Congrats, you lot -- it's great fun!

PS. I love Nyman's brain matter and his face.

Anonymous said...

Thought there were some very funny parts, but worry about a lack of likeable leads. Well, actually, math girl seems good, i guess it is more a lack of an appealing male to balance out the nut jobs! i like the crazy, but it could do with a bit of balance once you have more time to play with.

Tim Footman said...

Bit late. Liked it. Was the name of he university a nod to The History Man?

james henry said...

I believe it was, yes, although I think that slipped passed a few people unnoticed.

Anonymous - mm, I agree with you actually, but I think a series would give it room to stretch out a bit. And as Ori recently reminded me, no-one thought Guy would be a credible romantic lead, and a believable threat to Mac, at the start of Green Wing.

ScreenTerrier said...

I thought it was great, especially the female leads - loved Maths lady. Just needed more Sara Pascoe, and the storyline with her and the accountant would be a lovely one to see developed...

John Q Wagonwheel said...

Fantastic. Begged a full series. Plenty of things that niggled at me for slight tidying, but that comes after the comission.

Oh, and it needs an historian.

Well done.

Fat Roland said...

It was very funny, although you're right about the coldness. (What I think was clever about Green Wing is it achieved maximum empathy with minimum back story.)

By the way, I first started following this blog over five years ago before I knew you wrote for Green Wing. I felt a little flush of woo when I saw your name on the credits. "Woo." Just like that.

james henry said...

Cheers FR! I almost feel 'Woo', but instead I always end up feeling like someone's made a terrible mistake and now I'm going to get the blame.