I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
A second season of a tv show isn’t usually too difficult. You have a solid cast of characters, usually a decent audience (a requirement to get even close to a second season these days) and a bank of decent stories and story threads to complete. It doesn’t usually require a huge amount of change, with no real need to introduce new characters or shake-up the format too much.
This counts double for sitcoms. Sitcoms can usually get by on being an extension of the first season, just creating new jokes and new situations for the characters to get into. In fact, in some cases it’s easier because the characters are now established and can be put out of their recognised comfort zones. The key is to ensure that into a second season, the quality of the jokes and the stories remains as high as in the first season.
This is where Moone Boy falters slightly. It’s still a very funny tv show and has some amazing moments in its six episode, second season, but never feels like it quite lives up to the high standard it set itself in the first season. It hasn’t necessarily changed anything, the characters are all the same, in very similar situations, and the actual format of the show is identical. It just doesn’t feel as funny or as clever as season one.
There are still key aspects of the show that still raise a smile almost everytime. David Rawle is still great as Martin Moone and manages to hold the show on his shoulders brilliantly. If anything, there is less of Martin this season, as the focus seems to shift more towards his family members and the characters around him.
It also means we seem to get less of the dynamic between Martin and his imaginary friend, played by Chris O’Dowd. This is, without doubt, the strength of the show. It’s demonstrated best in the second episode when the pair re-enact the famous dance from Dirty Dancing. These moments are the highlight of the show but seemed to be pushed out to focus more on the family.
Not that this is an awful thing though. The family is very funny and have some great moments of their own. Fidelma is pregnant and the wedding episode highlights how crazy the family and the local community really are. The real star of the Moone family is the father, Liam. His run-ins with gypsies or his role as the reluctant father-in-law both show how good Peter McDonald is in the role.
It’s just a shame that the shift has focussed away from the best aspect of the show. It feels a lot less like Martin’s story and in some episodes, he almost feels like he has been given a subsidiary storyline, like trying to clean the wedding dress in the final episode of the season. The focus needs to be much more on him and his imaginary friend – alongside his best friend Padraic, who is another strength of the show.
Overall, Moone Boy is still a very good sitcom but has lost its quality from the first to second season. The focus seems to have shifted towards the family and their situation, leaving the best aspect of the show, Martin and his imaginary friend, played by Chris O’Dowd, as subsidiary characters. This doesn’t mean it’s still not very funny in places and is still one of the better sitcoms on British TV.
Best Episode – Moone Dance: The moment where Martin and his imaginary friend re-enact Dirty Dancing is a season highlight.
Best performance – David Rawle as Martin Moone
Should there be another season? – The show is still a decent sitcom and there is plenty of life left in it yet.
Season Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)