Sick of It balances humour and heart brilliantly, delivering big laughs alongside moments of real poignancy.
Karl Pilkington returns to our screens with six new episodes of his superb original comedy Sick of It, delivering more killer one-liners and two wonderfully nuanced performances - as downbeat taxi-driver Karl and the voice inside his head.
Before the first series aired, Karl was worried about people describing it as a 'comedy' as he didn't believe it was funny - "it's more sad if anything" - he said, and what it actually ended up being was a perfect marriage of the two. It's also, I believe, one of the most profound comedies on television in the last couple of years - at a time let's not forget, when that's the growing trend, with shows like Fleabag, Home and Back to Life also doing it incredibly well.
Once again, Pilkington and his longtime collaborator Richard Yee have ensured Sick of It balances humour and heart brilliantly, delivering big laughs alongside moments of real poignancy.
We left Karl at the end of series one taking a much-needed shit and declaring that he "might be in love" but as the new series begins we discover that he's still single, still a cab driver, still living with his aunt Norma and is still being haunted by his inner self.
Only things aren't exactly the same for Karl, as very early on in the first episode his world is turned upside down and he's left feeling pushed out when his aunt Norma hires a young sparky care worker called Ruby to help look after her.
Introducing new characters into a show can often be tricky and much like Karl, I too was wary of Ruby to begin with, but that wariness very quickly went away. Thanks in part to the magnificent performance given by Marama Corlett, but also because it became clear that Ruby is vital in driving the narrative of Sick of It forward and it's her arrival which helps Karl at least begin to think about overcoming his low self-esteem and anxiety issues.
Realising that he needs to do more with his life, episode two sees Karl rid himself of a staggering biscuit addiction - hilariously executed in episode one - as he searches for his own flat, ditches the yellow cab and leases a £500-a-month BMW to become a private driver.
But does this last beyond the second episode? Of course not, but without wishing to spoil the rest of the series for you - I don't think it's unfair for me to say that the Karl we leave at the end of series two is a noticeably different Karl to the one we meet at the start of either series. But the changes aren't dramatic, what the script manages to achieve is to grow its central character in a way which feels authentic and believable.
It's too early to know if there'll be a third series of Sick of It but with an ending unlikely to leave you feeling unsatisfied, the end of episode six is a very nice place to leave the story should we have to. But of course I hope we do get more and that this isn't the end and I'm excited by the thought of Pilkington and Yee coming together once again to push the series and the characters within it further.
I remember writing in 2018 that my only real gripe with the series was that Sky didn't release the series in its entirety on the day the first episode aired, which thankfully they've corrected this time around as all episodes will be available on the day of release (Friday 10th January).
Sick of It airs Fridays at 10pm on Sky One and all episodes are available to watch via On Demand and NOW TV