Channel 4 have hit the jackpot with their new comedy drama Loaded which centres around four tech entrepreneurs and friends; Leon, Ewan, Josh and Watto who are about to become millionaires thanks to their mobile app Cat Factory.
Imagine the situation. You’ve spent countless hours with three of your friends inventing a cat game that mums play on the toilet. You’re £791.34 overdrawn and suddenly you’ve agreed to a multi-million pound sale of your start-up video game company.
You ring the bank, only for them to tell you that your balance now stands at £14,578,324 and 66 pence in credit which means that you’re now a millionaire. What do you do next?
In just the opening episode of Loaded, we can already see how each of the 30-something friends have spent their money differently.
Leon, perhaps the most extravagant of the four, and played by Samuel Anderson (Trollied, Witless), has bought himself a Ferrari, hired a Barbershop Quartet telegram to sing the words “Fuck You” at anyone he has a mild distaste for and indulges in a morning champagne bath! The fizz around his balls screams success apparently.
Josh (Jim Howick, Broadchurch, Stag) treats his parents to something they didn’t know they wanted, treats his office to limes to go with their celebratory Coronas and treats himself to a pair of new jeans.
Watto (Nick Helm, Uncle) buys a narrowboat and Ewan (Jonny Sweet, Together, Him & Her) decides that he’ll finally, probably, maybe go zorbing. I mean, he’ll think about it. Oh and he accidentally offers to give everyone in the company a rather sizeable bonus!
Aside from the main four there are some great female roles in Loaded, including the excellent Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight) who plays Casey, the Vice President of Acquisitions at the parent company that’s just bought Idyl Hands.
She’s clearly very powerful. Almost certainly controlling. And unashamedly narcissistic. We first meet her over a Skype call where she describes herself as a “Sexy Darth Vader”. Need I say any more?
Playing Casey’s assistant Naomi is rising star and one of my favourite new talents, Lolly Adefope, and whilst I don’t think it’s unfair to call Naomi naïve, she is very eager to please Casey. Whilst their relationship plays out over the phone or Skype at the moment, when Casey travels to the UK I’m looking forward to more scenes between Casey and Naomi.
‘Comedy drama’ is a term which I struggle to get on with. It’s often used to describe a series that isn’t funny enough to be an out and out comedy or dramatic enough to be an out and out drama. What you’re often left with is an hour of fluffy storylines and mediocre jokes.
Of course this is not always the case and Loaded's script is definitely able to strike a pleasing balance between the two.
The jokes are funny jokes. They’re well-timed, well-written and well-performed. There have certainly been no concessions made at the expense at the half of the series which is supposed to be drama.
In fact, I laughed more during the opening episode than I have at some new comedies in recent years.
But underneath all the jokes, the drink, the fast cars and all the other material things that comes with being an overnight millionaire, Loaded is a story about friendship and loyalty. And that’s where the drama part of the series comes into play.
Because of course whilst the immediacy of becoming a millionaire is all very exciting and all you want to do is show-off your wealth, the reality is that there is going to come a time when your friendships are tested, relationships are put under immense strain and people’s reactions towards you will inevitably change.
These four thirty-somethings have been through everything together. The good, the bad and the ugly times but having £14m each is the biggest test they’ve had on their friendship.
Already in episode one, Leon is being pushed by Casey to fire Watto following a pending lawsuit against Cat Factory for copyright infringement. Of course this is the last thing Leon wants to do, but it’s either that or they all lose their jobs. And he wants that even less.
So as the series goes on we’re bound to see whether or not their friendship will survive the eight episodes, and if it does, what state is it in by episode eight? Sacrifices will need to be made. And on occasion ambition will need to go before friendship.
One thing’s for certain though. After spending an hour with Leon, Ewan, Josh and Watto, you’re going to want to stick around for the rest of the series. A series that will have you questioning what you would do with £14m.
Loaded is a co-production between Channel 4 and AMC and is based on the award-winning Israeli series Mesudarim.