The Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Watchlist: “Pete Versus Life”

The unfortunate thing about this column, and generally about UK television, is that for some reason they feel no need over there to give advance warning about air dates for anything that isn’t “Doctor Who” (and even then all you’re likely to get is “Christmas” or “spring eventually”).  And it isn’t as though there isn’t plenty of new television coming out.  Generally if I write something up here that isn’t from an established franchise, I have to ask an Anglo friend what’s invading their commercial space or wait for something to fall into my lap.

This one in particular fell into my lap via an “IT Crowd” fan group.  “Can’t wait ’til next series?” it asked rhetorically.  “Try ‘Pete Versus Life’ out in the meantime.”  The two shows share no writers, actors, or production companies — the only connection is that they’re both Channel 4-based (also the UK home of “The Big Bang Theory,” unsurprisingly) — so it would seem the pushers are aiming for crossover appeal via demographic.

Rafe Spall (son of Timothy) plays the title role — Pete, not Life — a lazy, jerkish twentysomething sports writer who wishes life could be a bit more structured and rule-driven.  He goes through the same sorts of problems we all do/did at his age, with one major horrifying exception: he is being analyzed every step of the way by two sports commentators (played by Simon Greenall of “Fur TV” and Ian Kirkby of “The Slammer”).

The show’s already pulling a bit of criticism for “lifting” the commentary gimmick from the 1971 Woody Allen movie Bananas, with some saying the modernized attempt just doesn’t quite fly without the advantage of an in-reals commentator (Bananas featured Howard Cosell as himself).  “Pete Versus Life” has been commissioned for five episodes, so it has even less time than usual to prove itself.  Though if it’s being marketed to the “IT Crowd” … er, crowd … it may find a fandom there.

Pete Versus Life” is currently airing Friday nights at 10 PM on Channel 4.  Woulda been totally sweet to get John Madden in on this, but I have no idea if you can draw distinctly phallic shapes during a play-by-play even post-watershed.

Posted on August 11, 2010 at 08:17 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, Television: British and Canadian · Tagged with: , , , ,