Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you'll be aware of Sky's recent drive into original comedy. Whilst most of them are good, some stand out as being very good, Trollied, Stella and Moone Boy are just a few examples of those exceptional comedies.
Moone Boy, first burst onto our screens in September 2012 and 17 months later is back for a second series, with an IFTA and an International Emmy Award for Best Comedy under its bobbly hat, and I'm happy to say that the series certainly hasn't lost its charm second time around.
The comedy starring Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd, Family Tree), is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy set in the small Irish town of Boyle in 1989 which started life as part of Sky's Little Crackers series in 2010. The series follows the adventures of 12-year-old Martin Moone, played brilliantly by young actor David Rawle, and his imaginary friend Sean Murphy, played by Chris O'Dowd.
So happens in episode one? Well, it's 1990 for a start, so a year later than series one, and Football fever has well and truly swept the nation as Ireland enter the World Cup finals for the first time ever.The nation minus one that is, Liam (Peter McDonald), Martin's father, is less caught up in the World Cup and decides to take the family away on holiday.
It's safe to say that the rest of the family are less than pleased, as this means they won't be able to watch Ireland's crucial tie against Romania on home turf. Not least of all Martin, who in my favourite scene of the episode tells his imaginary friend Sean, 'I feel like an immigrant up here. ...I admit it I'm stuck in my ways.' and when Sean calls him a Boyle-ist he responds with - "If you have to put a name on it, then yes, I'm a Boyle-ist."
I just love the way David Rawle plays Martin, especially in that scene. He's cheeky, likeable and ultimately comes across as very natural, three boxes every young child in comedy should tick.
It's not always easy to make children in sitcoms work, let alone make them of the show. Outnumbered for example achieved that very well in its earlier series, as the kids improvised most scenes, but now that the kids have grown up, something is missing and that's the believability factor. Moone Boy though certainly achieves just that and have created a little star in David Rawle.
The best moments for me in Moone Boy, come from David, who often outshines the already loved and well-established Chris O'Dowd using his wit, charm and all around cheekiness. He's the reason I tune in, and I'm sure more people out there feel the same. Whilst O'Dowd may be the big star, David Rawle steals most scenes with his wit and charm and late last year was nominated for Best Comedy Breakthrough at the British Comedy Awards, an award that in the end went to Adam Hills. But not to worry David, there are sure to be plenty of awards making their way to you soon.
So, moving away from the World Cup then, next week's episode, is a particular highlight and sees Martin take a big step into a much more grown-up world, as he starts Secondary School and faces the school disco with, you guessed it, hilarious consequences. What will happen when Martin suddenly becomes surrounded by girls?
I'm really pleased that returning for series two is Johnny Vegas, I've not hidden the fact of how much of a fan of his I am and I love how each of the characters he plays are big characters with bundles of personality. In Moone Boy, Vegas plays Crunchie Haystacks, another imaginary friend, this time of Martin's friend Padraic. Padriac and Crunchie are a perfect mirror pair of Martin and Sean and together I love watching them go on adventures together.Speaking of adventures, look out for episode three, where Martin, Padriac, Sean and Cruchie go on a Halloween trip using their makeshift ghost ship. And I'm sure it goes without saying, but their journey doesn't exactly go to plan... introducing Castle Island.
Throughout the rest of the series Martin asks for a Sega Mega Drive. Sure he can have it, but he has to pay for it himself which leads to Martin getting a job at the swanky Royal Boyle Golf Club. How will he get on? Will he get that Sega Mega Drive? Well, you'll have to tune in to episode four to find out.
Oh and to top the whole series off there's the Boyle wedding, between Fidelma and Dessie. The wedding plays out in episodes five and six, first with the Stag and Hen dos, then with the wedding itself. A cracking way to end a series that is already shaping up to be better than the first.
I think Moone Boy is a really refreshing comedy, that's warm, heartfelt, nostalgic and ultimately very funny, and deserves all the success it's currently having. So much success in fact, that Sky have already commissioned a third series from O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Myrphy who he writes the series with. Why stop at three series? Surely Moone Boy is quickly becoming one of Sky's flagship shows and one that I feel can run and run. Hopefully anyway.