Chris O'Dowd, yes, Roy from The IT Crowd is back on our screens in a brand new eight-part comedy for BBC Two called Family Tree.
Chris O'Dowd plays Tom Chadwick and stars alongside Nina Conti who plays his sister, Bea. Similarly to Episodes, Family Tree is a co-production with an American production company, this time HBO. Described as a 'single-camera, improvisational, documentary-style comedy', I'd agree with most of those terms except for comedy. That's not to say the show isn't any good, in fact quite the opposite, the show is great. But if you're tuning in to expect another comic turn from Chris O'Dowd, then sadly Family Tree isn't quite that.
Sure there are laughs and funny moments across the series but 'feel-good' is probably a better term to use than 'comedy'. I've seen half of the series already, and it really is a case of the more you watch the more you get into the story and want to find out more about the ever surprising Chadwick family. Family Tree, is written and created by Christopher Guest who many of you wil recognise as the creator of This Is Spinal Tap. Family Tree follows 30-year-old Tom Chadwick as he goes on a journey from England to California in a quest to learn more about his family. 📷His journey is triggered by him losing his job and his girlfriend of five-years and feeling unsure of his identity.
But when he inherits a mystery box of belongings from a great aunt that he never met, he starts investigating his family tree, which as you can imagine opens up a whole lot more than perhaps Tom had been bargaining for in the first place. Tom's sister, Bea Chadwick is played by Nina Conti, who is best known for her ventriloquism, speaking of which she does appear throughout the series with one of her ventriloquism buddies, "Monkey" otherwise known as "Monk".
Quite what the purpose of the monkey is, I'm not quite sure yet. But I'm sure there must be a reason as to why he's there. Other characters in the series include Mr Pfister, played by Jim Piddock, who also co-wrote the series with Guest, who is the owner of an antiques shop, above which Tom lives and often has the answer to a lot of Tom's questions about his family tree.
There's also Pete Stupples, the most comic character across the series, who is Tom's best friend and played by PhoneShop's Tom Bennett. He's a simple guy and with all the complexity Tom is facing with his family tree the two of them work really well together. Sure Pete goes on trips with Tom as he continues to fill his family tree, but dies he really care? No. Of course not! Pete just comes along for the ride and because he probably doesn't have anything better to do.
All in all it was a nice watch, it went blow you over with laughter nor will it make you cry with all the drama, instead it's quite gentle viewing, but the pay off is that we get to see Chris O'Dowd back on our telly screens, and for that lane it's worth a watch.