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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- From The Benny Hill Show to Spaced, British comedy imports have been ingrained in our pop culture. There’s a specific type of humor the folks across the pond have that gels with Americans and Brits alike. The latest sitcom to come to us in the states is a little show starring two legendary actors that has already charmed the British and is coming for us in the States next.
Stuart and Freddie are an elderly gay couple living together in their Covent Garden Flat for 48 years. Freddie was a budding actor and Stuart a bar manager, but their careers have winded down since then. Now mostly what they do is entertain their guests such as their friend Violet and neighbor Ash, that is, when they’re not also hurling insults at each other.
Vicious is a conventional sitcom tackling a slightly unconventional subject. That doesn’t stop it from being a sharp, witty, and positively delightful piece of television. The show is British through to the core and it wears its humor on its sleeve, dry and biting and that’s part of the charm. Especially when a pair of remarkable actors leads it.
It would be enough to watch the show to see legends like McKellen and Jacobi work, but they are given tremendous jokes to work with and they deliver them with remarkable flair. Stuart and Freddie are one of the best couples on television because even despite the constant insults, they truly care for one another. Frances de la Tour is also funny as the main female presences on the show, Violet. Iwan Rheon (known better as that crazy Ramsey Snow on Game of Thrones) gets a chance to show off his comedic chops as Ash. They all work well together as a cast to really elevate this show to greater heights.
Vicious has only been around for a short while, but it is already a classic. The writing is solid, production values simple, yet effective, and the acting above and beyond. Jacobi and McKellen are in superb form and watching them work is a real joy. The first season is short, only consisting of six episodes that could be torn through in one breezy, acerbic afternoon. It’s just a really fun and sweet show that has become one of the surprise standouts of the year.
Vicious airs Sundays @9pm on PBS. Previous episodes can be streamed on PBS’s site.