I’ve been a fan of Steve Coogan, ever since I first
saw took notice of him in 24 Hour Party People, and most recently in the odd (in a good way) Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. I absolutely loved his segment with Alfred Molina in Jim Jarmusch‘s Coffee and Cigarettes. (had enough with the links?) He is universally heralded for his performance of the title character on “I’m Alan Partridge”, a TV show I’ve never seen, yet since it gets such glowing reviews, one I should probably search out. I like his easy, natural acting style, and, although he’s primarily a comedic actor, looks like he’d be able to handle dramatic stuff without problem.
Anyway, this weekend, I read a brief review in Salon (I won’t link to it), about a new-ish series of his that’s airing (or has aired) on BBC-America. The show is called Saxondale. Me, being a child of the internet age, promptly downloaded the whole 7 episodes of Series One of the show (I don’t know if there’ll be a Series Two).
After watching the first three episodes, in a row, I can say that this show is definitely worth the effort to find it and watch it. It is quite wonderful, in all kinds of subtle ways. Coogan plays the title character (he also is co-writer on all the episodes), Tommy Saxondale, who is a somewhat burnt-out former-roadie for all the big bands in the 70’s and 80’s. Now that he’s middle-aged, he makes a living as an independently subcontracted pest control guy. He’s married to a rather BBW woman who makes her living creating and selling t-shirts (the “creativity” primarily consisting of putting pictures of famous uptight people on t-shirts, superimposing them with a joint in their mouth/hand whatever). So, basically, he’s a middle-aged guy who has hundreds of stories of his wild youth, who is now a rather comfortable middle-aged man with anger-managment issues.
While the plots are sometimes thin, that’s not really an issue. Because Coogan so totally inhabits this character (who is reminiscent of an older, British version of Dude Lebowski), that it’s simply a joy to watch him act. He enjoys spouting his opinions everywhere/anywhere, and often finds himself going too far in his opinions, as he gets himself worked up into an angry froth. While this may sound rather boring and too one-noted, it’s really not.
Check it out, and then agree with me. If you’re looking for something to replace the weekly fix of downloading and watching Extras, now that Series Two of that is ended, take a look for Saxondale. I think you’ll like it.