When it was originally on: 2015-2019
Original network: Channel 4 (UK) or Amazon (US)
Where you can stream it now: Amazon Prime
Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: American boy Rob gets Irish girl Sharon pregnant while they hook up for a week while on a business trip to London.
Why I picked it: This is one of those shows that Amazon has been trying to get me watch for several years but I never thought much of it. Then as I started listening to the Appointment Television Podcast and heard their high opinions of it, I started to rethink that. I wanted to make sure Amazon had a fair number of representatives on The List compared to Netflix and Hulu, and so Catastrophe made the list.
What I liked: I liked just about everything about this pilot. It’s a comedy pilot that’s actually funny. It’s centered on two characters I’ve already fallen in love with. I was actually pretty mad at my whole “you can only watch the pilot” rule as it would’ve been easy to watch at least a full 6-episode season of this in one sitting.
One of the things that’s interesting to me about British shows is that because they typically have shorter seasons, their pilots tend to be tighter and more focused than many American pilots (the Derry Girls one is another one of my favorites). Whereas American sitcoms often have silly characters for comedic relief and “straight men” for storytelling purposes, Castrophe doesn’t waste time with that nonsense. This pilot doesn’t waste time trying to develop silly side characters outside of Rob and Sharon. It lets both of these characters be the primary source of comedy AND compelling characters who have so much potential for emotional growth.
Rob and Sharon have great chemistry together, so I don’t really have a problem believing that a) they barely know each other and b) they could actually have real feeling for one another. Even if they don’t have feelings now, it’s easy to see how they might develop over the course of the show. Both get moments to be emotionally vulnerable and so even over this one episode we can already see these two growing closer.
If there’s one thing to learn from the Castrophe pilot, it’s that we don’t need to compartmentalize our interesting characters that will drive the story forward in a separate box apart from our funny characters. Not only can characters be both, I would also argue that it makes much better show when they are.
What I didn’t like: This is rare, but I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say and I don’t want to force it.
Do I want to watch Ep. 2: Yes! Again, I was mad at the “no episode 2” rule as soon as this episode was over.