Green Wing: POINT (I am expecting a counter-point to come along from about everyone else). I like Green Wing. I admit, it did not leap on me instantly. The sped up, slowed down, trip-hop stylings which will be the meat and potatoes of any criticism of the show took a while to get used to. But now I am used to it, I cannot imagine the show any other way. The jokes, if they are jokes (and sometimes they aren’t), are bookended, punctuated and disrupted by this uneasy camerawork. It is an extension of the Smack The Pony “drifting away camera” technique which used to end their sketches. And people are getting confused I think between uneasy and dark (or “daaahhhhhrrrkkk innit” as Adam And Joe have it). The uneasy air of Green Wing helps make it more compelling, you are never sure how far a scene will go, what levels of humour or weirdness will be scaled.

This would not work over half an hour, and more importantly the length helps differentiate it from other sitcoms. Green Wing is a sitcom, there is a sit after all, but now does not fit in the BBC’s legendary “half hour length” fascism. Why is it so long, it certainly is not to develop complex plotlines. But it is to develop more plotlines. Rather than the restrictive four person sitcom setup, Green Wing has nine lead roles, and another five or six supporting characters who are fed into the system. This gives them more to play with, and maybe it is for budget reasons, but the length seems to allow a lot more.

All of which says to me, its different – does not mean it is wrong. Quite possibly 9:30 on a Friday is wrong for it, quite possible its willfulness will alienate more than it helps. But as a replacement for two dud American sitcoms I am more than happy. I am surprised how well delineated I already find the characters, how I know how they will react and this is the secret of easy comedy writing. It is the only programme in years I have started religiously videotaping, which must mean something. Long live Green Wing.