Dear Friends, Due to unfortunate considerations of time and cost, Backwards City is no longer a print journal. However, we will maintain our presence on the web that, however meager, we hope you might enjoy.
Just a reminder that in addition to the sixth season premiere of 24 tonight (an increasingly regrettable show from which I cannot look away), there is also the American debut of the second series of Ricky Gervais's Extras on HBO. Warning: very minor spoilers ahead, including two embedded YouTube clips.
Things have changed a bit from the first series. Instead of continuing to be merely a background player, Gervais's character has somehow lucked his way into the starring role on a BBC sitcom he has created, When the Whistle Blows. However, interference from the studio has corrupted Andy's vision into a laugh-tracked, banal disaster and leaves Andy himself trapped in a Satrean hell.
And here's the second promised clip, from David Bowie's episode (the second), which expresses the theme of the six episodes in a musical nutshell. The guest stars are great this time around, by the way; even better than in the first season, I thought.
Following what risks becoming Gervais and Merchant's formula, the first season sets up the characters and the premise and the second season sticks the knife in, stripping away all promise and all hope. After initially being put off a bit by the second series of The Office I've come to the conclusion that it's actually the best of the series or the specials, precisely because such vast stretches of the destruction of David Brent are so difficult to watch. (Certainly it's among the best three hours of television ever aired.) I seem to feel the same way about Extras series two—some of this you can't even laugh at. You just don't want to watch.