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Archive for July 5th, 2017

by Adam Ferenz

A very different sort of series. How different? Try meta before it was really a thing. Anthony Newley’s creation is the sort of confection one just does not find every day. That it exists, is a bit of a miracle. The Strange World of Gurney Slade is a surreal, avante-garde work of art. Newley plays, well, a version of himself, as an actor, as a character, when the character escapes the confines of a kitchen sink comedy and bolts first into the wide spaces of London and the surrounding countryside. There, this character encounters many strange and wonderful things, from girls on airport runway strips, to juries deliberating his guilt concerning if he has been funny or not, straight through to a final judgment by the network executives, who decide to parcel off the characters to series where their types might best be utilized.

Does this sound insane? It is. It is also something unlike anything television had seen, anywhere in the world, before, and rarely since. That is it done with a light and knowing touch, is all the more impressive when you consider how little faith was given to the production. This is not a show about characters, but about moments and types of events. One can trace Benny Hill and Monty Python back to this series, in terms of its sometimes random zaniness, one which never reached the frantic pace of those series but which has a style that one recognizes from the later work. (more…)

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