TV Rating: **
1 November 2016
After three online web series and one London Live series ‘All About the McKenzies’ was back on television, this time on ITV2, with a brand new pilot episode. Yes, you read that right a pilot episode for a TV show with a history! Go figure??
This short, 20 minute episode featured most of the regular cast, with some changes – including a different Raymond (the father, played by Delroy Brown) and Samuell McKenzie (Samuell Benta) has a side kick friend on side. The episode is largely centred around a restaurant at which Samuell is working. In this pilot, things develop when his ex-girlfriend arrives for dinner with a new man in tow. Eaten by jealousy, Samuell plots to get his own back and the drama progresses from there.
Whilst at times mildly amusing, overall I found it to be highly juvenile as if aimed at children or very young teenagers. This is not what you would expect from a prime time show broadcast at 8.30pm One should have guessed the age demographic targeted going by the lively, over long opening credits which looked more like a ‘Diversity; dance troupe routine.
The repetitive 10 second mini-breaks in the programme to show music and graphics were a tad tedious and over Americanised. If slipped into a top quality sitcom it may have worked, but sadly this was far from a high quality production which is a real shame and makes little sense as the three web series plus London Live series were very watchable and enjoyable shows. The diarrhoea scene was over drawn and far too long. It was just awful in all senses of the word. One gem was the young girl Angel, played by Chyna-Skye Campbell. She really stole the show with her antics driven by her confident, self-assured, cheeky character.
Grand-dad, played by Jason Pennycook doesn’t really work as a character and he really looks like a 40 something man trying to play a 65 year old man. You don’t warm to him and there’s nothing really lovable or humorous about the cantankerous “old” man in the way that say, ‘Desmond’s Pork Pie was quite likeable, acted his age and had something to say.
I think it’s a bit of a strange one, insulting really, for All About the McKenzies (AATM) to be asked to produce a pilot for a programme that’s been around for a while. Of course it’s great that ITV2 should have commissioned it, but there’s enough hours of AATM programming output out there for them to have decided to fully back it by commissioning a full series, never mind a pilot.
The on screen and social media promotion from them seemed to be non-existent which is a real shame and hardly helpful to promoting the show. Putting it on during the middle of Manchester City v Barcelona in the Champions League would not have done it any favours when it comes to ratings either! An ITV2 press release said, “Following on from the success of last year’s specials, ITV2 Fresh unveils four brand new 30-minute singles, which showcase the breadth of talent and will air in the run up to the MOBO Awards on ITV2.”
What are “singles”? Maybe the clue’s in the title – they will only be single episodes. I thought pilot episodes had the potential to turn into series if popular, but by describing these programmes as singles one can only deduce that ITV2 have pre-determined these will never become commissioned shows. I thought that with the four pre-MOBO shows in 2015 and time has proved my hunch to be correct as not one of them got commissioned.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
- All About the Mckenzies ITV2 pilot episode on itv-player – Available to watch until 30th November 2016
- Dropperz the Pilot – review – 21st November 2016
- Exclusive reviews of ITV2’s four pre-MOBO 2015 Black and Minority Ethnic shows