So … we have “Downton Abbey” releasing its final three episodes on iTunes before they are broadcast on PBS. We have NBC premiering its second season of “Smash” to the six people who still care on Hulu weeks before it goes to television. And, most notably, we have Justin Bieber smoking pot and his friends taking pictures to prove it.
OK. That last one was irrelevant, I know. But … hoary for shameless plugs!
Actually, even more notable than that (if you can belibe it — see what I did there?!), is the news of Ricky Gervais’ new show, “Derek,” which begins airing across the pond on Jan. 30 (on Channel 4, for all you international readers out there. Ok. I get it. There are no international readers out there). Why is this news to us TV Without A TV types? Oh, how dare you question a post’s basis?!From TV Guide …
“Ricky Gervais may have enjoyed being the ‘most feared man in Hollywood’ when he notoriously offended many as a the host of the Golden Globes, but he insists that his new sitcom ‘Derek,’ set in a nursing home, is ‘sweeter’ than his usual fare,” the fine people at that publication wrote last week. And now for the money shot …
“Derek, an original series to premiere on Netflix sometime this year, won’t target the elderly with Gervais’ sardonic wit. The show’s humor doesn’t lie in mocking them, but rather in taking jabs at the callous outside world and its marginalization of the elderly. It’s certainly not an obvious topic for humor, but Gervais hopes that viewers will give the show a chance.”
That’s right, friends. The latest brainchild from the man behind the superior version of “The Office” is set to come to the Untied States via The Big Red Enveloped Machine. Or, in other words, I haven’t been this excited for a Netflix original-programming deal since the people behind “Arrested Development” first began hinting at getting in bed with Qwikster’s more successful and attractive cousin.
Yes. “Lilyhammer” didn’t quite do it for me.
The comedian will write, produce and star in the show as Derek, a character that some people are calling a “mildly mentally retarded” guy who helps out at a nursing home. Karl Pilkington, Kerrie Godliman and David Earl will all help fill out the cast. It’s already garnered criticism from rights groups for being exploitative of developmentally disabled people … and no, I’m not going to touch that whole issue one way or the other.
In fact, I will now just try to awkwardly transition into another paragraph.
What’s the most interesting aspect of all this, you, the kind-hearted blogtastic blog-reader, asks?
“Ricky Gervais has admitted he improved his new comedy series thanks to Twitter,” Mark Jefferies wrote earlier today. “The comedian, 51, thinks the social media site helped him edit down scenes and his scripts. Speaking about Twitter, he said: ‘I use it to try out jokes and it helped me with editing. I can get to the essence of scenes now. These “Derek” episodes were coming in at 40 minutes and I was getting depressed thinking I couldn’t get them down to 26 minutes. The compression on Twitter made me start thinking about the words I don’t need.'”
Well, golly. Look at that. A show-creator using input on the Internet for a show that will be distributed in this country … on only the Internet. And to think some thought the thing was just a tool for which people could create fake girlfriends!
What? You thought I wouldn’t bring up the whole Manti Te’o mess?! Shame on you!
Anyway, a premiere date for Netflix has yet to be announced.