Even if his acting feels like a sentimental stunt, Gervais wrote and directed the series with gentle skill. [16 Sep 2013, p.41]
Nov 27, 2013In short, Derek is one of the most accessible and decidedly raw expressions of humanist values to be found in modern television.
The greatest achievement of the series is the delivery of a simple moral message without an ounce of self-righteousness or pretension. One might argue that this is only possible due to Gervais' portrayal of a purportedly disabled protagonist, Derek. The series clearly argues that the presumption of disability is ill-founded instead suggesting that we only face negative consequences of our differences in a society that champions and elevates certain "successful" archetypes above others. The characters in Derek are in many ways foils of these personality/professional/physical archetypes, calling into question our own unrecognized senses of vanity and the roots of our personal aspirations. The episodes all offer critiques that deconstruct our increasingly-reinforced social castes, asking us to consider why we are so intent upon differentiating ourselves through the pursuit of various external metrics of success.
Instead, why not embrace the shared characteristics that we tend to bury in our daily lives our needs for compassion, love/companionship, kindness, and purpose? Derek seems to content to do so, and has a qualitatively greater impact on those in his life because of it. His companions and colleagues also tacitly realize this, but through brilliantly-delivered monologues they reveal a compromise between accepting this truth and achieving externally-defined "success." The series invites us to consider our own stations in life, what we want to achieve, why we make the choices we do, and what we might be missing along the way.
We need the values embodied in Derek, yet we've somehow constructed a society that fosters the complete opposite. This series strives to encourage introspection among viewers, and in my opinion does so masterfully.… Expand
Dec 9, 2013One of the most refreshingly new comedies in a long time…..don't pay any attention to the newspaper critics, they are an odd bunch…if you love something other than the Hollywood standard sitcom fare, then add this to your list of favorites. Rick Gervais is brilliant in his portrayal of Derek. Just to look at his expressions starring face on into the camera is funny. It has brought tears to my eyes in laughter and compassion. Again I have to say that I love British humor the best! I can only hope for series 2 and 3. Thanks Netflix for taking the chance.… Expand
Nov 30, 2013Derek is one of the most underrated shows out there. My initial thoughts were that it was going to be typical Gervais comedy, but this was proved wrong within the first 10 minutes.
It covers the delicate topic of the elderly part of our community, but by the Queen's corgis, does it do it well.
It can be quite witty, humorous, but it's main appeal is in how touching it is. There are some parts where it is just sentimental, and other where your eyes start to water and you can't help smiling.
The acting is brilliant and the characters very convincing. The story, while not overly exciting, was incredibly realistic and very touching. This would be a very worthwhile gift to anyone.
While not being as universally adored as Breaking Bad, it offers a much different style. I couldn't have been more pleased after finishing Derek.
Thank you, Ricky, for this masterpiece. It deserves a special place on the 'Universal Acclaim' list, even though it's been outvoted by rubbish like Game of Thrones (The books are SO much better).… Expand
Jan 26, 2014Wonderful tragicomedy if you invest the time. Critics won't understand it but this is a show that appeals to real adults rather than just the cool people like most tv. Is it perfect? No. But it's so much better than anything I've seen in 2013 that it's not funny. And I loved House of Cards.… Expand
Jan 6, 2014Absolutley brilliant! I only watched it cus Karl Pilkingtons in it and i love that guy. But this is so much more than i expected. I recommend doing as i did and watch the whole series in one go, it took me just over 2 hours. Awesome, i really hope they do another series!… Expand
Feb 27, 2014It's weak, basic, obvious and middlling. The show contains a 'cheap-gag' character that basically drinks onsite and offends everyone, reducing the level of realism that Gervais is striving desperately for.
The 'Derek is kind, real people are bad' ethos that plagues the show (not enhances it) is rammed down your throat with force, not the subtlety we used to be able to expect from Gervais.
Similarly to M.Night Shyamalan, Gervais appears to be running on the 'law of diminishing returns'. The Office is my all-time favourite comedy, Extras was brilliant, Life's Too Short didn't amuse me half as often (and was a shameless 'look at my celebrity friends' schtick, whereas in Extras the celebs at least had cause to exist within the show) and this is just poor.
All of Brent's subtleties (the snarky looks at the camera, the fiddling with the tie, the undercurrent of tragedy and sadness that shapes his every move) have been launched out of the window.
That Derek is actually the character that Gervais used (right down to the name and accent) in his earlier works on radio (using Derek in a negative, doesn't he sound retarded way) should have sounded alarms to those who are actually familiar with Ricky Gervais' works.
He also used the exact same physical appearance and voice in his standup in a negative capacity, summing up autograph hunters.
So I am not someone who simply doesn't 'get it' - I listen to the XFM shows, Guides to..., The Ricky Gervais Show and all his other radio works on a constant loop every day. I have watched and/or listened to everything he has ever done 100's of times and loved every minute of most of it.
But the sad fact remains that he is a one-trick pony, and his latest works (released to his widest audience yet) have been weak, basic, obvious and unrealistic. Unrealistic can be good, sure, but that is not what he strives for or intends to do.
This is simply weak, lacks subtlety or realism, and crams the message down your throat constantly.
It breaks my heart to write this review, and I will always love Gervais and his works before Life's Too Short, but until he pulls his head out of his 'twitter-raging', arrogant and delusional ar$e he'll never reproduce the quality that he was initially renowned for.
I am not offended by Derek or his character traits (though I am offended at how he thought he could seamlessly go from poking fun at people like Derek in his stand-up routines for cheap laughs to portraying them as heroes and portraying himself as someone who respects people like Derek), I am not amused by Kev crapping his pants or saying boring and predictably horrible sexual things, but I am alarmed that the best actor in the show is Karl Pilkington.
The female lead is a retread of Dawn, Derek is as subtle as a sledgehammer, Kev is a ridiculous character that belongs on 'When The Whistle Blows' (which parodied basic comedy to perfection) and the entire message of the show is generic, boring and self-congratulatory.
Gervais should stop lunching with Zuckerberg or tweeting to Ellen and get back to basics. Woody Allen concedes unto himself that he's a one-trick pony, and in earlier years when Gervais wasn't so defensive and arrogant, he too admitted this of himself. And there's nothing wrong with that if you are aware of it and do it well.
Gervais thinks that his portrayal of Derek (a character he built in the early 00's to ridicule simple-minded people) is quality, that's the worst part. Gervais is and will only ever be a one-trick pony, and one of the best at it.
This middling, idiotic and frankly crappy show lacks the subtlety that Gervais is renowned for, the humour that made him a household name, and the genuine and heartfelt moments that were captured in The Office with fleeting glances and quick 'cut-to's' from the camera, replacing that with sledgehammer tactics.
I make no apology for the score, the length of this tirade nor the content within. Gervais used to represent a bunch of quality things, and now it seems that he's (permanently) sold out to the very aspects of fame and fortune that he used to rightly ridicule.
He used to whale on Lenny Henry and his pathetic comedy, and parodied rubbish, generic comedies in Extras ('When The Whistle Blows') and now, due to money, Hollywood fame and Twitter-infection, he's become exactly what he used to hate and stand against.
Terrible show, if this show amuses you then you need to try harder and search further for all the BETTER comedy out there. I'd start with his earlier works.… Expand