48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Just ignore "Written by Chris Morris" for a second,
This review is from: Nathan Barley: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I wanted to write a quick review, not just to say how much I personally love Nathan Barley, but to make a note on what I read in so many other reviews of this show. Many of the lower ratings for Barley state how much different Nathan Barley is from the rest of Chris Morris's work. And that's true, but mainly because it's not trying to be. Barley isn't exactly the socio-political satire of Brass Eye or The Day Today, it's attacking a social trend that I happen to believe is still very much alive: pretentious idiots who deem what they create as genius, and worthy of greater regard.
Personally, I think the show is more similar to the work of the other writer of the show, Charlie Brooker. Fans of his show Screenwipe or his Guardian column Screen Burn should get a similar sense of misanthropy from the character of Dan Ashcroft, the disenchanted journalist surrounded by idiots.
I'd also like to note that the show itself is pretty exceptional. The characters, while almost completely non-likable, are all well played. Julian Barratt is particularly excellent, especially for fans of The Mighty Boosh who see him exclusively as Howard Moon, and Nicholas Burns is also fantastic as the titular character. The stories can be simple, but this is definitely a character driven comedy, and the jokes come thick and fast, with the heavy majority hitting home.
Put simply, don't expect Nathan Barley to be the return of Brass Eye, repackaged as a modern day sitcom, because you're more than likely going to be disappointed. The show is as much the work of Brooker as it is of Morris, and manages to create a world full of wonderful, if horrific characters, which makes this, in my opinion, a brilliant comedy series. If you're a fan of casual misanthropy, I'd advise you to buy this, but there may not be quite enough stupid jokes for fans of My Family or Two Pints.