It is always a risk continuing with a sitcom when some of the strongest, core characters have departed. It means that you rely on either the remaining cast to step up and fill the role that is left or bring in new faces and hope they have the same impact as those that have gone. Trollied decides to do both, with varying degrees of success but probably just enough to keep the sitcom alive.
The remaining, familiar cast is led by one of the strongest characters; Gavin, played by Jason Watkins. His panicked, flustered store manager is a great character to ground the series around and then begin to establish more of the regular, often fringe characters. For example, both Beverley Rudd’s Lisa and Carl Rice’s Colin become core characters and not just comic relief. They get more focused stories that develop beyond their very public displays of affection.
The same can be said for others who could be considered comedy-filler. Dominic Coleman is on-form as Neville and continues to be hapless but gets a love-story of his own. The same can be said for Faye McKeever as Linda. These border characters from past seasons are now being thrown into the middle – with a hit and miss outcome.
Unfortunately there are some characters that have lost the comedic impact. The most obvious is Margaret. She has her moments but the sweet character played by Rita May was always reliable for some of the best moments of any episode but unfortunately this isn’t the case anymore.
This may be because the focus has shifted towards new characters. Lots of new staff enter the store and with it comes a wide range of decent (and not so decent) new additions. They vary from the stupid but sweet millionaire Charlie, played by stand-up and actress Aisling Bea to the frustrated and bitter pharmacist played by English TV stalwart Stephen Tompkinson. These all get great moments and bring something new to the series, even if it doesn’t particularly revolutionise anything.
As part of Rice’s Colin’s storyline, one of the more irritating characters is his Grandmother, Rose, played by another acting great, Miriam Margolyes. She is the opposite of sweet Margaret and seems to be without any discernible features.
The range in success of the characters mirrors the range in quality of the series. Some episodes relive the magic of the first or second season while others fall into forgettable territory. The odd moment brings back some of the original magic but you can tell that the show is in desperate need of injection of fresh ideas or something dynamic. The whole series seems to lack a direction or overall arc to focus on and when it does finally reach its conclusion, nothing much seems to have happened.
Overall, Trollied lacks the sparkle and magic of the first two seasons. Departing characters has forced either fringe-characters to become the new focus of the show or for new characters to try to breathe life into the sitcom. This means that we get varying degrees of success, with some episodes bringing back classic ideas and others falling helplessly to the wayside.
Best Episode – “Episode 4:” The first aid training is a good way to demonstrate the talents of new characters like Aisling Bea’s Charlie.
Best performance – Dominic Coleman as Neville
Should there have been another season? – Tricky to say. There is probably life left in the sitcom if they can bring back some of the old magic that it started with.
Season Rating – 2.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)