Next Wednesday at 10:30 PM (EST), IFC will present the American debut of Year of the Rabbit, a co-production of IFC and Channel Four in the UK, starring Matt Berry.
Year of the Rabbit debuted last summer in the UK, and through the kindness of our friends at Haversham Recording Institute, I was able to watch the series as it was broadcast over Channel 4. Your PopCulteer and his wife are big fans of Matt Berry, following his career from The IT Crowd to Toast of London to What We Do In The Shadows…with stops along the way for his great voice work and his music.
The six-episode first season stars Berry as the tough booze-hound Detective Inspector Rabbit. His greenhorn partner Strauss is played to perfection by Freddie Fox, and Susan Workman is hilarious as Mabel, the adopted daughter of the Chief Inspector, who wants to become the country’s first female police officer.
Rabbit is, to be blunt, an alcoholic mess. He’s had one eyebrow chewed off by his dog, and is in a constant state of dishevelment. He’s also the best detective in London. Strauss is deep in the thrall of hero worship, and is oblivious to Rabbit’s flaws. Mabel, a Black woman in Victorian London desperately wants to be a police officer, despite her rather crude behavior.
The trio fight crime in Victorian London’s East End, uncovering a secret society of feminist terrorists along the way, while dealing with Rabbit’s arch-rival, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Tanner. Their beat is the dark underbelly of London…and in many cases that literally means the sewers.
Year of the Rabbit is a perfectly concocted mix of ripping adventure and absurdist humor. The detective work is intriguing enough to pull you into the story, while the elements of the bizarre and slapstic comedy provide a series of hilarious payoffs.
There’s just enough drama to keep this from being a “zany” comedy, and the set design and costuming is as elaborate as anything you’ll see on Masterpiece Theater.
Created by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley (Black Books, Veep) with considerable input from Berry, Year of the Rabbit has aleady been renewed for a second season. The first season will debut on IFC next Wednesday at 10:30, and it’s a real gem of a television program.
More Stuff To Do
I posted a guide to Valentine’s Day events HERE, but the weekend does extend beyond tonight, and I found a graphic for an event tonight that was hidden away on Instagram, so check out these other cool things you can do in town this weekend.
And that is the PopCulteer this week. Check back for fresh content every day, and all our regular features.