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Posts Tagged ‘Horrible Histories’

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Not from Tokyo…as of this writing…no. Ahem.

Check Instagram for more current updates….

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Random links first:

I’m in Living Faith today. Go here for that. It’s unplanned, but very fitting for what’s I’m doing at the moment. For more like it, check out the Catholic Woman’s Book of Days. 

Related: Scripture Passages that Changed My Life –  a collection of essays by Living Faith authors – is now available. I’m in there. And yes, they are essays – not the 150-word Living Faith entries in the quarterly devotional. Full-length reflective essays. For you!

Also – last week I noted that the robins were trying again. Well…it seems as if someone else was watching. Report here. Sigh. 

 

— 3 —

Here’s some fantastic news: Perhaps you know about Horrible Histories – the great British kids’ show based on some off-kilter British kids’ history books. I’ve written about them a lot, and we love the series around here. The same crew produced another show called Yonderland  – of which we’ve only seen the first season, and enjoyed – and a fun take on young Shakespeare called Bill. 

This is a great post with a list – and video links – to some of the best musical numbers from Horrible Histories. Including, of course…

(Did I ever tell you about the time my daughter ran into Mat Baynton on the very last day of the Edinborough Festival Fringe, where she’d been working for a month? Well – that happened – this young American woman breathlessly saying, “My little brother can sing the whole Pachacuti song!”)

They’re back! With, it seems a fun-sounding variation on The Canterville Ghost. 

Ghosts is a multi-character sitcom created by the lead cast of writer-performers from the award winning Horrible Histories and Yonderland, and the feature film Bill.

The crumbling country pile of Button Hall is home to numerous restless spirits who have died there over the centuries – each ghost very much a product of their time, resigned to squabbling with each other for eternity over the most inane of daily gripes. But their lives – or, rather, afterlives – are thrown into turmoil when a young urban couple – Alison and Mike – surprisingly inherit the peaceful derelict house and make plans to turn it into a bustling family hotel. As the ghosts attempt to oust the newcomers from their home, and Mike and Alison discover the true scale of the project they’ve taken on, fate conspires to trap both sides in an impossible house share, where every day is, literally, a matter of life and death.

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More serious random links:

Why is Rome sidelining Ukrainian Catholics?

First, there was the consistory for new cardinals announced on Pentecost Sunday. Leading the list of 11 new cardinal electors was Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon and head of the Chaldean Church, Iraq’s principal eastern Catholic Church. Creating the patriarch a cardinal was widely seen as sign of solidarity with the suffering Iraqi Catholics.

In 2016, Pope Francis did a similar thing for Syria, though that time he did not choose an actual Syrian bishop for cardinal, but rather the Italian serving as nuncio in Damascus.

Yet in five consistories for the creation of new cardinals, Pope Francis has passed over Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the UGCC and major archbishop of Kiev. Shevchuk’s predecessors have all been cardinals dating back to time when the UGCC – liquidated by Stalin – was the largest underground Church in the world.

Pope Francis is charting a new course in the selection of cardinals, but even given the idiosyncratic nature of his choices, it is evident that suffering Churches and suffering peoples are favoured with cardinals. That Ukraine has been overlooked now five times in five years suggests that Ukrainian suffering resonates less in Rome than the objections of the Russian Orthodox, who regard the very existence of the UGCC as an affront.

Secondly, a good look at Matthew Kelly’s Dynamic Catholic Catholic school teacher formation program. Popular, but evidently lightweight – no surprise there. 

The advice is banal, the language clunky: “The people you surround yourself with, and how you let their positivity or negativity influence you, impacts the kind of teacher you are.”

At times it is saccharine: “There is no national monument for teachers. I have never seen a statue of a teacher. But we all build monuments for teachers in our hearts.”

It can be pedantic: “Education is a wildfire. And a single educator is but a flickering of this timeless flare, hoping to shed some light where there is darkness.”

Or condescending: “Let me throw a little theology at you.”

Some of it reads like motivational business-speak: “We respect forever the leaders in our lives who were tough but fair.”

And every so often it calls on a weird source to make a point: “As Friedrich Nietzsche observed, ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.’”

You get the idea. Matthew Kelly manages to evade the hard questions mostly by ignoring them. How should I include “Jesus in [my] lesson plans?” Keep “an empty chair” for him, to “remind students that Jesus is always at their side.” What is evil and how should I respond to it? Make “holy moments”! How do I deal with the exhaustion, fatigue, frustration, and pain of teaching? “There is no limit to the number of holy moments you can create.” The prose is as limp as the cloying optimism it promotes. It often circles back to his usual refrain: Be the “best-version-of-yourself.” That was more or less what Eve was told in the garden.

 

— 5 —

 

 

All right! So our great Japan 2018 Voyage got off to a rocky start. An aggravating, puzzling and somewhat infuriating start.

The plan was: fly out of BHM to DFW – land in DFW around 10:30, flight to NRT (Narita airport in Tokyo) departs at 1:30. Perfect, right?

Well, you would be wrong. You would not have taken into account the long wait on the Birmingham tarmac brought on by: weight issues, which led to a delay as people were asked to volunteer to disembark, people thought about it for a while, and a couple of people finally decided to accept the $700 offer. (These offers are never made when I’m able to accept them). Secondly, weather between BHM and Dallas, which required a changed flight plan which took about 30 minutes to work out and which would be a longer flight.

So we didn’t land in Dallas until about…1:30. We taxied right by gate D33. I saw our plane pulling away. Waves. 

Oh well – surely there’s another flight to Tokyo today? Surely they can at least maybe get us to Los Angeles or somewhere further west and we can go from there and still get there almost on time? Surely? 

Again – You’re wrong!

But there’s another aspect to this story that takes it to another level, to the level beyond, eh, things happen – it’s air travel. You expect it. 

It was hard not to miss the dozen or so Japanese young adults on our small plane from Birmingham. We wondered if they were also headed to Tokyo on the same flight.

As we disembarked and lined up in front of the rebooking agent in Dallas, they gathered behind me. I turned and asked if they were on flight 61 – they didn’t speak much English, didn’t understand me at first, so I showed my ticket, pointed to the number, they got theirs out – and yes, that was their flight too. They were…surprised that they missed it.

So here’s my question. There were, at my count, between 12-15 of us on a single flight ticketed for another specific flight.

Why did they not hold the plane? 

We’re not talking hours here. The planes passed each other in the gate area. There was no mystery about where a large percentage of the missing passengers were – Hmm….15 people haven’t showed up for this flight? Where could they be? Such a mystery! Shrug. No – they know exactly where everyone is and exactly when they’ll be coming in.

I’ve been on planes that have been held for one or two passengers before. This was crazy, and although I got scolded a bit on Twitter for this, told that I just “didn’t undertand” how these things work – I stand firm. As I said, I’ve witnessed planes being held. The AA supervisor who eventually helped us was aghast, as was her co-worker.

So – a bit about customer service. For some reason, I’m fascinated by stories of good and bad customer service – I slavishly read the Elliot site all the time. So it’s also instructive to be in the middle of something like this, observe the dynamic and see what works – and what doesn’t.

The first guy I went to for help was doing his job, but doing it without any energy or compassion. I wasn’t panicked or angry – I was amazed that the plane hadn’t been held, but was ready to move on. Fine. But the options he was giving me were terrible and he was using the same tone with me as if he were asking paper or plastic – and who cares.

So, you could fly out of Chicago tomorrow morning, I guess. 

When would we go to Chicago?

Tonight. 

Where would we stay – in the airport?

I guess. Yeah. 

I wasn’t biting on any of these options, convinced that there had to be a better way, so he offered to call a supervisor – obviously eyeing the 12 Japanese students behind me, as well. So he radioed for a supervisor, I stepped aside and waited.

And waited. And waited. Minutes went by, no one showed up. I stepped closer to the original guy and caught his eye. He waved to an open door across the hall and mouthed – go there. 

Okay.

So I went to this open door, where a man in a tie stood – he listened to me very politely,if clearly a little puzzled about why I was telling him about this. He poked his head back in the door, said something to a woman inside. She came out, they had a puzzled conversation, she agreed that she’d help me, but first, we had business with Guy #1.

Well, she had business. She was pretty ticked at him. Why didn’t you call a supervisor? I did. They didn’t come. They’re right over there – why couldn’t you just wave someone down? I’m busy – I tried. 

I sensed that her anger at this other guy just might work to my advantage, so I was just super nice. Not pathetic – because you know, this is a First World Problem in the extreme, and no pathos allowed, in my view.

As it turned out – there were no great options. Nothing was leaving from DFW later, and anything else she was able to work out would involve many stops and wouldn’t get us into Tokyo much earlier.

So – we got booked on the same flight, 24 hours later.

But she did give us a hotel voucher. I don’t think she was supposed to, since the reason for the mess was “weather”  – one of the many, many reasons airlines use to excuse them leaving you on your own (and I get it – they’d go broke if they compensated everyone for everything we feel we should be compensated for).

But she did anyway, saying, “It’s going to be a long day for you all.”

Quick version of the rest of the saga: I had hoped to get our luggage (just two suitcases – we travel light)  which I had CHECKED EVEN THOUGH I NEVER CHECK LUGGAGE…..GRRR – but was told by two different people that while it might take 30 minutes to retrieve the bags, it might also take three hours and there was no way to predict. We had most of our toiletries with us (aka the most important for me – my contacct lens stuff) and J had a pair of gym shorts in his backpack, so we just decided to grin and bear it.

I did rent a car instead of doing a shuttle to the hotel. I managed to get one through Hotwire at about half the cost they were quoting me at the rental counter. I wanted a car because it was still fairly early, and this would enable to us run and get a couple of t-shirts and anything else we needed and – if we had time – to see a bit of Dallas.

Which we did…

(And please know –  In my communications to AA about this – both via Twitter DM and through their system – I praised the helpful AA employee by name, several times. Do try to do that – when someone gives you good service, note their name and communicate their good work to the powers that be. It helps them. I did the same with the woman at the rental car counter – we had no problems, but she was just very nice and engaged, striking the perfect balance – helpful but not annoying – I noted her name and commended her to her company, too. It matters.)

(I do have travel insurance – both through the credit card I used to book the tickets, and a separate policy which I always get for these trips. I’ve never, ever filed a claim – and even though it’s not much, I think I’ll give it a shot, just to see what happens.)’

And may I reiterate? First World Problems. I’m annoyed that we lost a day of our time in Tokyo, but for heaven’s sake – we’re going to be in Japan.  I have nothing to complain about.

 

— 6 —

So…Dallas. 

When we started out, I thought we’ll get barbecue – but then they noted that In n’ Out is in Texas now, and they opted for that. It’s okay – I wasn’t hungry. We then made our way downtown – I’d probably been in the Dallas environs (outside the airport) once as a child, and probably only to a mall (that’s my vague recollection, anyway).

So we just shot downtown, parked, and walked around for about thirty minutes. It was hot, there weren’t a ton of people in the area – done and done.

 

 

 

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 Coming in July:amy_welborn9

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Signs and symbols…Bible stories…saints, heroes and history. 

More book reminders (for those who only come here on Fridays) – I’ve made How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist available as a free pdf here. 

(One of several free ebooks I have available)

And don’t forget Son #2’s Amazon author page and personal author page.  

He’s released his second set of stories, which are science fiction-y in nature. 

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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Finished.

And having done so, I’m going to give you a heads-up that Lent 2017 is apparently going to be a surprising 1,367 days long.

Because that’s how long it felt in the writing of the devotional.

(Background: I have now written the Advent 2016 and Lent 2017 Daybreaks for Liguori. Look for them to be advertised in the fall, I suppose.)

I wrote the Advent 2016 edition last fall, getting in several months ahead of schedule, but was a couple of weeks late with this. That was intentional – not the lateness, but the timing of the work. I wanted to write a seasonal devotional during the actual season. That’s an unusual experience for a writer. We are usually working completely out of synch – writing Christmas pieces during Holy Week and Ash Wednesday items during Advent.

 

 

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The other night Fathom Events, which produces those one-off film presentations like productions of the Metropolitan Opera and rereleases of classic movies (they’re showing On The Waterfront in a couple of weeks – we’ll be there) presented Bill, the Shakespeare-ish movie from the fantastic Horrible Histories troupe. It was released in England last year, and is getting a US DVD release on May 3, but I wanted to give it some support, so we headed out to Trussville for the showing…

 

…and we were the only people there. Not surprising. I don’t think there’s a hardcore group of Horrible Histories fans here in the US, much less Alabama. But anyway – the movie was really enjoyable. More polished and a little less crazy than Horrible Histories episodes, with, of course, no relation at all to actual history. Doing a bit of research afterwards, though, I found that they had actually rather cleverly inserted historical references in a sort-of correct way throughout the film. It was great fun to see the super-talented HH crew each play about five different roles. It was quickly paced, and was actually a bit moving at the end as It All Came Together for Bill. Check out when it comes out on video!

 

– 3—

This week has also been occupied with driving. Yes, we have a new driver in our house – turned fifteen last week, permit attained on Tuesday, and big empty parking lot of big empty mall circled about 257 times over the past couple of days. This weekend, we’ll attempt an actual road. I think it will be fine. He has a determination to do it, to do it right and correct his mistakes. It’s not my favorite thing parental activity, but here it is…one more to go after this…

The process of getting the permit was not horribly painful – less than two hours in and out, and it would probably have been less if the state’s servers weren’t going down all afternoon. Another mom waiting with her son remarked that they should get the people who operate the gaming systems to run these things – they would never go down. And she’s probably right.

 — 4 —

 

Speaking of lovely bureaucracy, this happened last night. Our downtown post office is open until 8 pm during the week, so I was down there mailing a box of books. There was one person working, and the line was growing – this was about 7:30. I thought…. I sure hope they have more than one person working the counter over the weekend and Monday. But that wasn’t the issue.

There was a woman there when I arrived, parked at the end of the line preparing packages for shipping, waving new customers past her. It was, as it happens, Michael’s first piano teacher. By the time I got served, it was after 8, they had the door to the customer service area halfway closed and an employee standing there making sure new customers didn’t enter. As I was finished up, Ms. P said to an employee, “Oh, I forgot one more set for one more package. Can I just go out to my car and get it?” Employee shook her head. “No. Once you leave, you can’t come back in.” I said, “May I go out and get it for her?” Nope. We looked at each other. She slipped me her keys and told me which car it was. I rushed out, and as it happened, couldn’t find her package where she told me it was. I stepped back in the door – one step, handed her keys back, told her I couldn’t find it, she said she must have left it at home, and I was trying to telling her about Michael winning first place in his age group at the local sonata competition, and immediately starting getting my marching orders barked at me from both employees. “You’re breaking the rules, ma’am.”

— 5 

And..books. I have books for sale here – all of the picture books, plus the Mass books, plus Prove It! God. Get your orders in..so I can return to the PO and BREAK THE RULES.

I don’t have any of the saints books in stock here, but you should be able to find them at your local Catholic bookstore (which should always be your first stop for Catholic books), and if they don’t have it, ask them to order it – and of course, any online retailer should have them.

For months, I’ve been battling for the top spots in the highly contested category of “Children’s Religious Biography” at Amazon – for a long time, Ben Carson was my nemesis, but then Penguin published a Joan of Arc volume in their excellent “Who is?” series – and, well, I don’t mind St. Joan besting me. But when, for a few days, John Calvin jumped ahead – well, I’m not having that.

(Currently holding at #1 & #2)

Tomorrow is the feastday of St. Bernadette – my entry on her from the Book o’ Saints is here, at the Loyola site. 

— 6-

Over the next week I hope to finish reading the family exhortation and reread Familiaris Consortio and write something about it. For now, I’ll just say that if you read R.R. Reno in First Things and the most of what is in the articles linked here at Catholic World Report – that’s where I’m at. I have a slightly different take with a different emphasis, but yes. Once I machete through the thick jungle of ahistorical  false dichotomies and straw men, I’ll have something.

— 7 —

I have a couple of articles to write over the next few weeks, but other than that and homeschooling, I’m focusing my brain on…you guessed it…a trip!

It’s back to Italy in a few weeks.

I usually don’t talk about a forthcoming trip until we have already left, but this time, I’ve decided to share my planning and musing beforehand in a more public way. I’ll begin by talking about why we’re going where we (think) we are going.

For now – because the school day must begin – I’ll say that it will be into Bologna and then out of Pisa three weeks later. 2/3 of the trip is sort-of planned,  but there’s one chunk of the trip I can’t pin down – Tuscany. (Week 1+ – Emilia-Romagna. Most of Week 2  – Rome. Week 3- Tuscany) There is just so much to see and do, we’ve never been to any of it, so it’s hard to decide. I threw out the possibility of leaving Rome, renting the car and just taking it day by day without making any reservations or plans. It would be a week between that point and coming back home from Pisa. One kid was all for it, the other was doubtful. We’ll see. My argument against taking the day-by-day approach is financial more than anything else. I would probably end up spending more on accommodations that way..so we’ll see. It’s tempting.

Extra random read of the week – From Farm to Fable – it’s about Tampa Bay area restaurants, but I’m sure the situation is just the same elsewhere. 

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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Refusing to be thwarted by the the USCCB’s condescending conviction that I – a member of the most highly educated generation of lay Catholics Evah –  am not to be overly challenged by advanced vocabulary or thinking about Religion Stuff any day except Sunday  – we went Maronite last night.

"amy welborn"

The Eastern Epiphany is different than the Latin Rite. We do Magi, they do Baptism. in this Maronite church that has a pretty Latin-looking high altar and Stations of the Cross along the walls, yes, even here, the closing hymn was We Three Kings. 

"amy welborn"

All God, All Revealed.

I love the Eastern Christian emphasis on begging for mercy (instead of assuming it), and it is always just so interesting to participate in these different ways of sharing the peace (flowing from the altar, through deacons who proceed down the aisles offering hands pressed together, which then congregants receive with their own open hands and share in the same way with each other), of praying stances, or receiving Communion…as well as the robust Middle-Eastern-tinged singing.

Bonus: Fr. Mitch Pacwa, who is bi-ritual, celebrating and preaching.

(My oldest son has actually been to more Maronite liturgies than I have.  The Catholic school he attend here before Homeschooling Days had regular Maronite liturgies because the Maronite community – along with the Syrian Catholic – has such deep roots here in Birmingham)

But before that, on Sunday, was once again, Mass at the convent.  Last time, I posted the amazing, hand-made “book” behind Joseph – here’s Mary.

And here’s a longer shot, with the servers (two of them are mine).

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And if you want to know more about the community, and listen to some of the retreat talks they have posted, go here.

Other notes:

Getting back into school mode.  I’ll post more about that later, hopefully tomorrow. Monday and today were dominated by music and boxing.  The 10-year old’s piano teacher has jumped him up, ditching the regular “student” books and plunging him into Bach’s Invention #1 and some Zwei Leichten Sonaten by Beethoven. Kid’s been playing a little over a year.  First day of practice was rough, and many pep talks were made. (“Why do you think he would have you play these pieces? Because he thought you couldn’t do it?” Blank stare.) Second day was better, so onward.

And there was this, which is amazing. 

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

Whether you have preschoolers or older, and you’ve never done the “shaving cream and water color” thing…do it.  Here’s a good tutorial.  It’s simple, and the results are beautiful.

We also discovered DaveHax, and attempted the matchstick rocket (we got some nice little explosions but no liftoff yet) and the office supplies crossbow. The boat has attracted great interest and just might have to be next.

After months and months, I finally got tired of waiting for seasons 4 & 5 of Horrible Histories to stream in the US, not to speak of Yonderland.  So I broke down and bought a cheap Region 2 DVD player and ordered the DVDs from Amazon.co.uk. I had hoped they’d get here for Christmas, but (come to think of it) fortunately, they didn’t, so we had a nice surprise for Twelfth Night. Two episodes in, I’m loving Yonderland.  Oh, the boys like it, too.

yonderland DVD

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I was “At Home with Jim and Joy Pinto” this week – the audio is here.   We talked about Be Saints!  and I’ll be back (in studio this time) to talk about Bambinelli Sunday on December 12.

— 2 —

On December 5, I’ll be some sort of complicated hi-tech “webcast” over the “internet” with Franciscan Media.  Check it out here – you have to register, but you can probably manage that. 

— 3 —

On December 7, I’ll be in Charleston at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore, signing Bambinelli Sunday for, most appropriately, their “Baby Jesus Party.”   Come see me!!!

And you can order copies of Bambinelli Sunday from me here.   You can enter a giveaway for the book here!

And remember…Bambinelli Sunday is a real thing.   Maybe your parish or religious ed program could have your own “Bambinelli Sunday?”  Invite the children to bring in the Baby Jesus figure from their own nativity sets for a blessing after Mass?   Think about it! There’s still time……

— 4 —

Ages and ages and ages ago, when I was teaching theology in a Catholic high school, they made us, as all schools, even Catholic schools, do – dress up for some idiotic “spirit week” thing.  You know how it is.  Monday!  Krazy Hat Day!  Tuesday! Striped Socks Day!  Wednesday! Pajama Day! Hate.  White-hot hate for that crap. Anyway, one of the days was ..what?  Blast from the Past?  I think so.  So I studied my (limited) wardrobe and donned:  Black turtleneck, black skirt, black tights, black shoes and a beret. My seniors gazed at me without comprehension.  Are you French?  they wondered. Except for Rashida.  Rashida perked up.  “You’re a beatnik!” she said. A+! Well, twenty years later, here’s the latest from Rashida:  She’s part of a new fabric company – I know nothing about these fabric and craft things, but despite that, I was still completely taken with this short video describing the beginnings of Cotton + Steel.  Anything that’s about vision, creativity, initiative and courage is inspiring, isn’t it?

— 5 —

Math stuff.   Continuing to love Beast Academy and everything else from Art of Problem Solving.  Seriously – if you have a child who’s struggling a bit with some aspect of Pre-Algebra on up – check out the videos at least.  Very good.

— 6 —

This week’s travels, not too far from home:

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover.

Special Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.  It’s good – we’ve seen some of these models before, in similar exhibits, but this one was quite comprehensive and gave a good sense of the depth and breadth of Leonardo’s interests.

"amy welborn"

— 7 —

I spent the last two nights staying up way too late binge-watching The Wrong Mans on Hulu Plus (all episodes are up on Plus …they’re being release one a week on regular Hulu.)

“Danger called.  They happened to answer.”

"Mat Baynton"

At least binge-watching this one was a far less demanding commitment than doing the same with any number of American programs.  It’s a 6-episode comedic adventure caper starring James Cordon and our hero from Horrible Histories, Mat Baynton. (My daughter worked at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer,  ran into Baynton on the street on her last day, and probably thoroughly confused him as this excitable American girl told him how her little brothers can sing all the lyrics to “Pachacuti” ) (Next task is find a way to watch Yonderlandthe new show from the HH crew.)

I was almost immediately confused by the plot and it certainly had some weak points, but all in all I quite enjoyed it, thanks very much. Laughed out loud a lot at 12:30 AM.  Lots of great actors, the usual painful humor of the mild-mannered finding themselves in insane situations and even a bit of not-to-sappy heartwarmth as everyone finds their inner strength, etc.   I don’t ‘recommend” it because I don’t “recommend” cultural stuff to other people because inevitably someone gets offended and taps out an outraged/disappointed missive at my poor taste or low standards.  Whatevs.  liked it a bunch and will probably rewatch it, so there you have it.

From the Grantland review, which says it better than I:

The Wrong Mans, which debuted on BBC2 in September and is now airing on Hulu, is limited in all of the best ways. It consists of only six episodes, each roughly 29 minutes in length. The tone is consistent, the scope is clear, the stakes are big but the landing is pillow-soft. It’s an outrageously stylish comedy of errors in which two small-town nobodies — played by series creators Mathew Baynton (as Sam, the quasi-competent ectomorph) and James Corden (as Phil, the excitable doof) — become embroiled in an increasingly intricate web of kidnapping, violence, and deceit. In the pilot, Sam — after a long night spent emptying bottles and drunk-dialing an ex who also happens to be his boss — witnesses a dramatic car crash. After the smoke is cleared, a cell phone remains. It rings. The voice on the other end demands money and a meeting or someone’s wife will be killed. Sam is horrified. Phil — who lives with his mom, talks like a gangsta, and rolls his own sushi — is exhilarated. Soon, against all better judgment — and against all audience expectation; shows that feature Belle & Sebastian songs in the first act rarely have coke-snorting, chest-licking, pistol-packing Russian gangsters in the third — the two are in it up to their necks and over their heads. Sam gets blood on his wool Paddington jacket. Phil gets body-slammed by a Chinese hostage. Limbs are threatened. Lives are lost. A Jamie Oliver lasagna recipe is irreparably tweaked.

In lesser hands — or after being pawed over by literal-minded, profit-hungry development execs — this sort of cross-genre mash-up would never work. But The Wrong Mans has such a steady focus and particular point of view that it succeeds wildly on two fronts: It’s both my favorite new comedy of the fall and the best action-thriller I’ve seen in ages. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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