Dave – 20th October 2016 – 9:40pm
Created and written by: Dan Gaster, Will Ing, Paul Powell
Directed by: Dave Lambert
The middle episode of Dave’s new mini-com transmitted on the “home of witty banter” after Red Dwarf XI‘s “Krysis” last Thursday night, a full fortnight after Zapped‘s premiere was available to preview on UKTV Play.
For this reason I was thankful for the succinct cold open to “Mr Charisma” which expertly re-established the (high-) concept of a twenty-first century office temp stranded in an alternate fantasy realm, without the need for a “Previously on…” bumper bolstered to the beginning.
“I knew it wouldn’t work – you need the amulet!”
Sadly for strandee Brian Weaver (James The Inbetweeners Buckley) the amulet is being held in a Fairy-guarded vault atop the Protector’s keep, so it is up to the former “bus stop wanker” to hatch a cunning plan straight out of Dungeons & Dragons (“Invisibility cloak? … Some kind of flying device?”) and kind a way back home.
Said plan comes in the form of magic man Howl’s (Paul Kaye) charisma potion, allowing the tie-wearing fish out of water to charm his way past Ricky Grover’s burly winged bouncer. Problem is it’s in short supply and Steg (Ken Collard) really wants a batch to charm his “demi-fin” (mermaid) date into giving up her scales and staying on land, while wannabe soothsayer Barbara (Sharon Rooney) is equally keen on a sip to get her through her Guild interview.
Like last week (“Mr Weaver“), Zapped 1.2 isn’t an out-and-out barrel of laughs (although, ironically, its standout woofer does come from Kathryn Two Pints… Drysdale being wheeled about the market in said wooden receptacle!), however a surflux of nifty genre flourishes (separation spell, self-returning arrows, hair-raising side effects) married with a genuine warmth to the characters (yes, even Paul Kaye’s sharp-toothed grotter) make “Mr Charisma” a more entertaining all round experience.
Ultimately, where this second installment truly excels is in its structuring. Slick and assured, the trio of scribes who compromise the writing team effortlessly dovetail three ostensibly unconnected subplots into a batter – sorry, belter – of a coda.
“Plenty more fish in the -“
Tying homesick Brian’s “consolation meal” to a throwaway present day reference from earlier in the half hour was inspired. It may or may not be murder, but it’s definitely “piscaphobic”. Either way, you’ll be laughing too hard over Steg’s consternation – and into the end credits – to care.
CR@B’s Claw Score: