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4.6 out of 5 stars58
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 October 2015
There's an interesting convsersation around "Derek" that invites a logical mis-step. That if you criticise a harmless tale of a chap with clear learning difficulties and his love for kindess and animals, you're by implication some kind of unfeeling monster. I'm sure there have been genuinely moving and interesting explorations of disability, of old age and of the precariousness of being sensitive, selfless or vulnerable in an unfeeling society. This isn't one of them.
The whole thing feels like a tortured riposte to an argument someone had already lost. That argument, I feel, was probably Mr Gervais's choice use of the word "mong" in one of his comments before this series was really even thought about. This is evidence of a state of denial that can only be borne from a monstrous ego being pricked. If you can be bothered, watch the original genesis of the "Derek" character on Youtube, and see if you can detect any of the subsequent pathos, "kindness" or gentle, feel-good sensibility that has tried to be injected into this. It's not there, but then there wasn't an argument to win back then; there wasn't credibility to rescue. If the original barb had been aimed at gay people, you know for a fact that Derek would have been a flamboyant but lovable homosexual. "See?" invites Gervais, "I can't fear them! I played one in my show. I'm on their side!".

Trying desperately to focus on the product rather than the context, it does raise a few smiles here and there. So did "On the Buses". In the absence of any real invention or wit, you end up with a series of willy jokes, and contrived plot devices against the backdrop of some old people who bravely wrestle some dignity out of the often head-patting script. Karl Pilkington, presumably on seeing the direction this ship was sailing, hopped out at the first available port and took with him any genuine humour or integrity. The plot veers between saccharine, pointless, boring, grotesque and bewildering, and appears to have been made up as they went along in places.

The world would not be any worse if this had never existed. It's not any better for it either, which is surely the most damning assessment you can make of any creative endeavour.
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on 13 August 2014
Ever since I saw Ricky way back on The 11 O'clock show I've followed and loved all of his work - even 'Science'. Series 1 of Derek was a daring breath of fresh air with many genuinely comedic and heartfelt moments. I'd give that 5 stars no worries. Series 2 however, really saddened me. Not in the way intended though. Everything about it was so inferior to the first series.

So where to begin?

Let's start with Kev. The series may as well have been called Kev as he is in it far more now than the main character Derek. To begin with, I have problems with the fact he's just always there in an OAP home, drinking. I know it's only a story but if you're filming something as a supposed fly on the wall documentary (more on that later), then it has to be believable. Anyway, regardless of this, virtually all the jokes in the second series are all well-worn crude euphemisms that are all to do with Kev's disgusting sexual antics. Honestly, I can't remember any gags in the whole thing that aren't sexual gags about Kev. Ricky is so much better than this and I feel a bit let down that this seems to be the only way he thought he could get laughs. Oh and the 'dog' episode when suddenly out of nowhere, Kev is into sculpture and creates a great dog sculpture out of junk.. well, that was just ludicrous. My girlfriend and I just sat and watched in disbelief with cries of "Oh for god's sake! What the ****?" In fact that whole episode itself was beyond cringeworthy. The second the dog appeared I said "He'll get put down" and what happens?

As far as I'm aware, Karl Pilkington chose not to be in this series because he didn't think he was a very good actor. He's wrong, but that's his choice and certainly not Ricky's fault. His loss though is a massive one and this alone makes Series 2 much weaker. Dougie was the voice of reason and essentially narrated the show. His replacement though, Jeff, just didn't work at all. His character is all over the place - one minute you think he's some autistic type of person with strange ideas who tells wild lies and then next minutes he's just being a nasty little thug. You expect him to finally get his comeuppance but he doesn't, he just suddenly decides that he's been a fool and he should be nice like Derek... (pass the bucket...)

Series 1 had a lot more of the old folks in it and this alone made it much more touching. Considering we're meant to believe it's a documentary about life in an old people's home, there's barely any old people in it, as I said, the main story lines involve someone who is neither a resident nor a staff member- Kev! Gervais does like the fly-on-the-wall documentary format and that worked well for The Office. There was reason for them to film what they did and the people reacted to and played up to the camera. But in this series in particular it just doesn't work. There's no point to it being shot as one. It's only the 'talking heads' that remind us it's meant to be one. But like I say, we're meant to believe it's a documentary about a care home, yet most of what's shot/shown, isn't! There's no point it even being in an old people's home anymore and I just don't buy the fact that Kev and Tom would be there that much. Kev even moves a caravan into the car park and lives in that! As if that'd be allowed! I just think something should either be 100% believable or not at all. Also, not that I care too much, but there's an awful lot of unnecessary swearing in it, to the point where it loses its effectiveness.

Lastly then, Derek himself. In Series 1 he was naïve, innocent and let's be honest, pretty stupid. Now it feels like Ricky has taken the criticisms of the character to heart and turned Derek into some saintly prophet, who now doesn't do anything dumb, is looked up to by everyone like some sort of saint and comes out with profound statements by the ton. There's no laughs at all at his expense this time - it's like Ricky's scared to do it now and why the crudeness levels have been ramped up in order to compensate.

I honestly can't find much to praise Series 2 for, apart from the fact that it's still better than most other things on TV at the moment. I love comedy dramas. There's nothing better than a comedy that makes you laugh and cry in equal measures, but there's a marked difference between something that makes you want to cry and something that makes you want to vomit, and this had me feeling nauseous time after time. Not only that, it rarely made me laugh either, because as I mentioned before, virtually all the supposed laughs are derived from crude references to Kev's sex life. That really is it.

I love Ricky - a lot - but this really was poor, which I feel bad for saying. I do wonder if maybe he is better working with Stephen Merchant, as perhaps he is capable of reigning him in a bit at times and stopping things from becoming too over-the-top.

I've never said this about anything Ricky has done, but I hope there won't be any more. Sorry Ricky....
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on 29 May 2014
Much more emotional than the first series, which was excellent. I thought this series would falter a bit with the leaving of the excellent Dougie (Karl Pilkington) but it actually gets better.

Very moving in places and hilarious in others. Kerri Goldiman is superb again. Holly Dempsey gets a wider role and fills it perfectly and David Earl as the slobbish Kev is fantastic.
Ricky Gervais brings the character of Derek to life in a way that the entire programme looks like a real life documentary. Superb acting all round.
Brilliant tv. Can't wait for series 3.
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on 22 May 2014
In my opinion, This show is without a doubt Ricky Gervais' best work to date. I've never been so emotional from watching a tv show before. All the emotions and feelings throughout this gem are absolutely well written and acted. To be honest, one of the best shows I've ever watched.
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on 4 December 2014
just got my copy of this , no blu ray available , so clearly promotion department can't be bothered , yes its not as good as the first series because pilkington is missing, but god dammit its still the best thing on tv you can watch , its still superb, …. get on with series three and get pilkington back , perfect….
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on 11 August 2014
Ricky Gervais is by far my favourite comedian but even I wasn't sure about Derek when I first saw the pilot episode. I casually watched the first series anyway and ended up loving it as I got to know the characters; the second series is just as brilliant in my opinion. Although comedy genius Pilkington is only in one episode (apparently Karl wasn't comfortable with acting in a main role which is fair enough, I don't think Ricky got rid of him out of choice), Gervais decides to develop other characters like Kev and Vicky more which I enjoyed. Some of the comments Kev comes out with are soooo wrong but hilarious, David Earl has really impressed me as a comedy actor and I think we will see more of him in the future. Derek manages to blend heart warming drama and humour perfectly...think the final episode of Extras and you will be on the right track. The only negatives are it being a little unrealistic at times, for instance an alcoholic bum being allowed to hang out in an old peoples home or Hannah constantly going off to try and get pregnant mid shift with her boyfriend who just seems to sit around all day waiting for her to ovulate?! But you can pick small faults in anything, overall this is the best sitcom in years and possibly the best thing Ricky Gervais has done since the Office.
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on 26 October 2014
Never before have I seen a television show which combines comedy and empathy so meticulously. Gervais is a master, he delivers time and time again but 'Derek' really is his role of a lifetime. You will laugh, you will cry, that I can guarantee. The concept is simple: a man with nothing has everything. Friends. Happiness. A smile. Series Two will see Derek go through hard times but come out the other end smiling. It's the secret to life. We can all learn a lesson from Derek. Series Two is just as genius as the first. It will touch your heart in a way you never thought Mr Gervais could. The message is so simple but is more powerful than any I've seen. It will change you. Five stars does not give this series enough credit. Thank you Ricky, you've done it again.

@realtroyandrews
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on 29 May 2014
Ok yes I do realise I'm going against the grain here by maybe not liking this second series of Derek perhaps as much as others, but do here me out before you hit the not helpful button ;)

I would also like to state for the record that I'm a huge Ricky Gervais fan whether it's the podcasts, audiobooks, xfm, the office etc (even if he did block me on twitter....I simply responded to his question of "how would people feel about a third series" or words to that effect. I, politely, said that I don't think there should be a third series. Obviously had I known I'd get blocked for just the slightest bit of criticism then I wouldn't have dreamt of replying, but never mind now haha)

I can't fault too much about this second series, it's the similarities with the first series I find fault with. There's just too many of them, I find it lazy. Things like everyone going for a day out at the seaside/zoo. Rescue animals visiting the home. I think to myself that I've seen all this before but in a slightly different scenario, why do I need to watch it again?

Series two simply hasn't progressed the overall story enough for me. Some of the great TV program's of the last few years have done this impeccably well, breaking bad, game of thrones etc. Yes I know they are wholly different program's but the same rules apply. Bringing it back even to one of Gervais' own shows with the marvellous Extras, Extras managed to move the story along over both series plus xmas special brilliantly. Starts off as an extra, gets own sitcom, craves more success etc.

Also the almost unforgivable decision to drop Dougie, I don't understand the logic behind that move. In my opinion the two best characters are Dougie and Kev, so why get rid of one? I'm sure there are reasons behind it, which I won't speculate about here as they would simply be my assumptions and nothing more.

Overall it's not a bad show, it's heart is firmly in the right place, nothing wrong with the acting or writing. Funny and emotional. But for me it should have stopped after series one on a high.

This is all just my humble opinion and I don't expect everyone will agree with it but that's the beauty of being human. We're allowed to disagree and criticise where need be.
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on 1 November 2014
I'm giving this five stars because it's hands down one of the most incompetent, patronising, incongruous, illogical and downright bizarre attempts at television i've ever seen. Season one was bad but Ricky's had an absolute shocker here. If you like The Room and Troll II then I recommend this to you. Apparently Ricky's earlier work is quite ironic, so it's a funny old turn that he's flogging something so mind bogglingly rubbish that in the future it will probably become a cult classic and be adored by hoards of comedy lovers who enjoy it ironically.
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on 4 July 2015
A shallow piece of maudlin, lowest-common denominator crap. Love getting all slushy over lovely white-haired auld folks like your dear old mum and dad? Want to coo over cute animals? But still can't face the idea of a world without being able to giggle at the disabled or the mockery of the elderly with cheap insults and sexual innuendo? Don't worry, it;s KIND. Ricky Gervais says so, and why would he lie to us?
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