Lost Signals: Psychoville (2009)
With a bevy of content coming out in the U.S. alone, it’s hard to remember that there’s a whole world of strange kids out there creating content for mass consumption. Psychoville, for example, is a fun little black comedy from across the pond in England featuring a one half of the sketch-comedy quartet known as The League of Gentlemen (Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton). Having made it’s debut last year, the series capped off it’s first season with a Halloween special this past October and is scheduled for a second season in 2011.
Unfortunately, footage of the show is hard to come by here in the U.S. (even online), though if The Office or Doctor Who indicate any sort of trend, we might see a remake in the next few years. The show itself follows
five different characters from different parts of England: David Sowerbutts (played by Pemberton) is a serial killer-obsessed man-child who still lives with his mother Maureen (Shearsmith); Mr. Jelly (Shearsmith) is an embittered one-handed children’s entertainer; Oscar Lomax (Pemberton), a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toy animals; Joy Aston (French), a midwife who treats a practice doll as if it is her real child; and Robert Greenspan (Tompkins), a panto dwarf in love with his Snow White who believes he has the power of telekinesis.
Each is connected by an unknown blackmailer (“Black Gloved Man”), giving the show a Twin Peaks type of vibe. Although I have yet to see all of the episodes, the first season basically revolves around each cast member trying to uncover the mystery of the “Black Gloved Man” while typically making things worse.
The style of dark comedy reminds me of some sort of sordid love child between Monty Python and Rob Corddry’s Childrens Hospital on Adult Swim. The show is simultaneously scary and weird, offering up just the right amount of WTF?! moments to make you crack an awkward smile. As mentioned before it’s a bit hard to find footage of the show due to copyright infringement, but there are a few teasers available on Youtube. This’ll definitely be one to watch for once it hits DVD.