In very odd fashion, PBS just finished airing a comedy series. PBS doesn’t go into comedy in its primetime slate too often, but even more surprising was how little attention this comedy series received. The series is called Vicious and it stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. Now a comedy starring Derek Jacobi should be getting some sort of attention, but one also starring Ian McKellen should be receiving a lot of attention. Sure, Vicious has its problems, but with two stellar performances from its leading men, this is a series to take note of.
Vicious follows partners Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi), who are seemingly locked into a crumbling relationship. However, when a new neighbor moves in (Game of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon), Freddie and Stuart begin to realize their relationship is worth a lot more than they thought. The series is created by Gary Janetti (Will & Grace) and Mark Revanhill and is run by Gary Janetti.
Vicious takes a while to get into. This is mainly because the characters of Freddie and Stuart and the performances from McKellen and Jacobi are the best parts about the series. So when the series is in setup mode we are left with mostly a bunch of jokes and gags that would be right at home in a CBS comedy (which do get tons of viewers but, let’s be honest, certainly aren’t top notch comedies). However, as we really get to know the characters of Freddie and Stuart, the series gets better and better, and while the jokes don’t improve, Gary Janetti does learn which situations work best for these characters. A great example of this is the series’ fourth episode, which finds Freddie trying to act much younger than his age in a club.
While there are other actors in this series, McKellen and Jacobi are the only two that end up leaving an impression (a big one at that). It’s great to see McKellen doing complete comedic work. It’s delightful to see him spout off one-liners and bring every second of his screen time some sass. He seems right at home in comedy. While Derek Jacobi isn’t the scene-stealer that McKellen is, he does a great job of grounding the series and he has great chemistry with McKellen.
Vicious starts off on the wrong foot, but once it settles down it realizes what makes it worst best: giving the spotlight too its two great leading men, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi.