When Peep Show hit UK TV screens in 2003 it absolutely blew my mind. Not only with the obvious POV camerawork (which, incidentally never felt gimmicky or “in the way”), but the kind of relentlessly pessimistic and brutally funny comedy that really caught my imagination.
Now, 10 years later it is still going and despite a shaky first episode, season 8 was fantastic.
For me, seasons 1-3 of Peep Show were the pinnacle of British comedy and every one of the 18 episodes was consistently funny. It cannot be stressed enough how good they were. Every joke hit the target, every plotline felt perfectly weaved.
From series 4 there was a drop, slight at first, but gradually it seemed to be little more than an increasingly desperate cash-in on a popular sitcom. Finally, after series 7 ended they took a two-year break and came back at the end of 2012 with a new season.
Hopes were not high and the first episode seemed to be something of a disappointment and a reminder of everything that had gone wrong with the show. Then, I finally got around to watching the rest of the series and it is utterly brilliant.
True, it doesn’t reach consistent highs of the first three series, but it is as funny as it has ever been at its peak. Sure, there are some moments that fail and even though the plot line of the first 7 series was finally swept away, leaving space for a clean(ish) start some of it felt strained. Some of Mark’s behaviour seemed deeply disturbed, even by his standards.
Yet this was a massive improvement over what came before and it is clear that a couple of years away gave the writers a chance to get some fresh ideas and tackle it again with renewed aplomb.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable series and one of the best for a long time. Sure, it has its faults but is a worthy addition and one of the rarest of things: a true return to form.