Mr Sloane is a new show that not a lot of people will have heard of, unless they lived in the UK and had the TV Channel Sky Atlantic. But it is one that definitely has something to offer. Set in 1969 Watford (England), it centres around the life of Jeremy Sloane (Played by Nick Frost, the big guy who often appears beside Simon Pegg in films such as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz). He is separated from his wife, who left home in order to “go find herself”, he used to be an accountant before he was let go, and he often hangs out at the pub with his friends Ross (A chronic gambler and terrible father), Reggie (A terrible womaniser who is marrying his girlfriend of 3 weeks), and Beans (A goody-goody 30-something year old man who lives with his domineering mother). Our story begins after Sloane fails to commit suicide (in a comical fashion), his phone rings, and he politely answers it. After a night at the pub, Sloane returns home and proceeds to eat a whole chocolate cake while drinking many more bottles of beer with a comedy on TV. He then tries to sing the British national anthem in his underpants as the TV goes off the air for the night and he falls back on the couch.
The show acts as a social commentary in its own way. We see a man trying to move on from losing a cosy but boring life he once knew. Along the way we see him trying to find new opportunities, in work and in his love life. He tries out for various jobs that either utilised his skills in maths, his strict and often unpopular approach to grammar and vocabulary, or none of the above. He even starts a relationship with an American girl named Robin (A beautiful and proper San Francisco Hippie), who he helps fix a broken pipe for at her house. As a very conservative englishman, the show demonstrates his borderline experiences between the “proper english way” and the evident swinging ’60s that was happening next door in London. He even experiences the highs of special brownies, which wasn’t something he originally intended.
I noticed something very interesting about this show: The humour actually has a timelessness and a universal humanity to it. Set in the ’60s, it feels like a show that you could watch with your folks and even grandparents, which in today’s society, for some, is a miracle. On top of this, the soundtrack is pretty awesome. Ranging from classical music and Gilbert & Sullivan and their song I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General (Part of Mr Sloane’s personal collection) as well as ’60s pop songs, including Knights In White Satin by The Moody Blues, and the opening theme being A Well Respected Man by The Kinks (a song that still applies today).
Acting-wise, There’s very little bad I can say about it, other than maybe the child actors (particularly the bullies) were perhaps a little 1-dimenional with no redeeming qualities. Then again, everybody gets those perspectives at school. For a show that consisted of 6 30-minute episodes (the 1st episode being about 50 minutes), there was plenty of very good character development, but particularly when it comes to the development of Jeremy Sloane himself. As great as the other characters are, their purpose is clearly to bounce off Jeremy and build him up. The cinematography outside of some of the “Brownie trip” isn’t that artistic, but it’s very well done. Tells a great story visually.
Would I recommend this show? Yes, there is something quite special about it. Funny? Definitely. Tragic? Yes, but in an amusing fashion. Sloane clearly suffers, and gets into situations that he can’t control, which is funny, but we’re also empathetic for him. His series of fortunate and unfortunate events are not too far from what could happen in real life, and in this way, we relate to him. The script is also rather tight, and it has a decent message about a Life that’s out of our hands. I hope Nick Frost can get extra work after doing this show as well.
Overall: **** out of 5