Hang Ups – DVD Review
Starring: Steven Mangan, Katherine Parkinson, Charles Dance
by Roger Crow
There was so much going for Channel 4 sitcom Hang Ups, that I wonder why I wasn’t more blown away by the opener when it debuted in August. It might be that the cast and crew were trying a bit too hard, cramming too much into episode one.
Okay, in an age when attention spans seem shorter than ever, it’s understandable that the powers that be wanted to introduce therapist Richard Pitt (Stephen Mangan) an his nearest and dearest as fast as possible, but perhaps there was just too much going on in the inaugural instalment.
“Needs at least one season to bed in”
Of course it doesn’t hurt that there’s such a wealth of talent attached, including Katherine Parkinson (as Pitt’s wife); David Tennant; Jessica Hynes; Charles Dance; Richard E Grant; Celia Imrie; Paul Ritter; Karl Theobald (whose character is pretty annoying) and Sightseers‘ Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.
The plot centres on Pitt attempting to re-launch his career through a new form of therapy, carried out via quick-fire webcam sessions. Inspired by Lisa Kudrow’s series Web Therapy, this improv-centric show certainly hits the ground running, but like all great sitcoms needs at least one season to bed in.
And while we may be living in an age of webcams and Facetime, watching a show shot like a video chat with an overseas relative is more stomach-churning than clever. Static cameras have worked on TV for more than 60 years for a reason.
“Plenty of funny moments”
Mangan is a terrific choice for the lead, but coming off the back of the far superior Episodes, this was bound to feel a little like a poor relative for the selfie obsesssed generation.
Going in cold it may have been a little irritating, but things change over time. After all, I hated Channel 4 reality show The Circle when it started, and now I can’t get enough of it, so there’s a good chance that with time Hang Ups will be just as essential viewing. And obviously on DVD it’s a lot easier to binge watch than on TV with adverts.
So, in short: worth a look for that amazing cast alone, and there are plenty of funny moments as long as you don’t suffer from motion sickness, like me.
‘Hang Ups – The Complete Series 1’ is available on DVD now, £14.99