TV: Flowers, C4, Episode One

I think I can confidently say that you won't see a comedy as strange this year as the second series of writer Will Sharpe's Flowers. In fact I don't think there has been anything this strange on telelvision since the first series of Flowers in 2016, which introduced us to the weird and troubled dysfunctional Flower brood - mum Deborah played by Olivia Colman, sad dad Maurice played by Julian Barratt.

In the first episode of this new series, set two years on, daughter Amy (Sophia Di Martino) and son Donald (Daniel Rigby) are centre stage as we catch up with their lives. Amy is living with her vicar lover Hylda, played by Harriett Walter, and is delving into the family history after being given a suitcase filled with heirlooms by a troll-like figure on a bridge (and about to be evicted from said bridge), while her twin Donald has set up a new plumbing business and seems to have modelled his "pipemaster" look on Super Mario plus Julian Barratt's Mighty Boosh look a decade and a bit ago, but with Mike Wozniak's moustache.

Meanwhile Maurice is taking medication for his depression and Deborah has written a book about his condition. In fact the shadow of mental illness hangs heavy over the whole dynasty as we hear more about the Flower ancestors. Nobody seems particularly "normal" here - whatever that means and however hard they try to behave as if nothing is wrong. And as if things were not unpredictable enough Amy's noisy band The Pink Cuttlefish Orchestra are coming to stay to rehearse too. And Maurice's enigmatic boozy friend Shun, played by Will Sharpe, is back too and having an English tipple. Apologies if I am being a bit vague, I really don't want to give much away, you really should just watch this and see it all unfold for yourselves.

It isn't just the tantalising storyline that keeps you hooked, there is no other TV series that looks like Flowers. Will Sharpe is also the director so it is cleary very much his vision. The comparison has been made with filmmaker Wes Anderson with good reason. Each scene seems to have been composed like a painting. The lighting – sometimes bright, sometimes dark, sometimes sunlight streaming in through the windows and doors – pulls you in. And elsewhere the attention to detail is striking. The set designer clearly had a great time.

All of which contributes to a mood that is at times creepy and unsettling, at times surreal and baffling. There is humour here too, of course, but this is much more than a cookie cutter comedy about an eccentric family. Much, much more...

Channel 4, Monday, June 11, 10pm, then nightly all week.


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