A WINNING LOSER
Kerry Leimer | Makawao, Hawaii United States | 05/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With its darkish humor, fine ensemble acting and atypical writing, this series deserves the chance to develop beyond a single season. For now, it's still a bit predictable and at times strains for a laugh, but it does manage to remain darkly funny over the course of each installment. The cast does a good job of portraying several familial archetypes -- especially Martin Freeman of "Tim" and "Arthur Dent" fame, again playing a worthy and charming loser who routinely finds himself on the wrong end of almost every situation.
To break out of the typical sitcom formula we also witness the myriad setbacks experienced by his more successful siblings. Setbacks they seem unable to recognize thanks to their ability to protect their egos with their professional accomplishments -- something Freeman's character has been stripped of. So what adds a little more shading here is the different ways in which these people respond to their own problems and the way they subsequently skew the view of their family members' problems. In short, no matter how strange their individual failings may be, anyone and everyone else is assumed to be even worse off.
There's a further twist as well -- albeit a somewhat gimmicky one. This pattern of failures and missed opportunities are given an inherited dimension by visiting a stream of odd and eccentric family failures down through the generations. At times these asides work well and play off the current storyline, and at other times they seem just stuck on to give the writers and audience alike a breather. When it works, it's funny. When it doesn't it offers a little twinge similar to the pain that some of those should-have-been-abandoned Python sketches pioneered.
While "The Robinsons" is yet some distance from reaching the polished and perfect pitch of "The Office", the present is above average television comedy, and the future potential remains high. Let's hope this loser wins in the end."
Another great British series!
chico | Asheville, NC | 04/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, definitely not for the prudish but if you enjoy Shameless, Black Books or other quirky, dark and sometimes raunchy series - this is for you! Would have loved to see a season two...."
Could have been better, but still funny
Warren Peace | Oak Valley | 01/07/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was very enjoyable, but could have done without the vulgar language.
I would recommend, As Time Goes By, before ever recommending this one."