“Flight of the Conchords,” an HBO musical comedy series about a folk parody duo from New Zealand who moves to New York to make it big in America, set the bar pretty high with it’s first season. The show was fresh and insanely funny, proving to be on of the best comedies currently on American television. But as I stated in a previous review (the first review I ever wrote for the site!), the season started with a disappointingly flat first episode.
Well, for my six or so regular readers (for fun I decided to multiply the real total by three) who have been dying to know whether or not the second season picked up steam, your torturous wait is finally over, as “The Complete Second Season” of the series hit DVD shelves this week. Here we go!
I’ll quickly answer the question I raised above by saying no, the second season is not as good as the first, which is likely the reason why this review will seem a bit more negative than it is intended to be. This isn’t to suggest the season wasn’t funny because it was. But after setting such a high precedent, it’s only natural to be disappointed when it doesn’t meet one’s lofty expectations.
I will start with the positives. The acting is first rate. All the supporting characters are fantastic, especially Rhys Darby, who steals nearly every scene as inept band manager Murray Hewitt. Also adding some flare was a funny new character simply known as the New Zealand Prime Minister, played by Brain Sergent. And naturally, Jemaine Clement and Brett McKenzie are perfectly cast playing dim-witted versions of themselves, the members of “New Zealand’s 4th Most Popular Folk Parody Duo” Flight of the Conchords.
What made the first season stand out was an abundance of subtle, yet laugh out loud little moments, and those are still prevalent in the new batch of episodes. Some favorite scenes for me included a shot of Greg, Murray’s sheepish co-worker, dancing emphatically at a Conchords gig while the rest of the audience stands motionless, and a debate between the band and Murray about whether or not there are people in the world who are pro-AIDS.
Truth be told I only had one specific gripe about the season, but it was a big one. A big problem I had was that the music simply wasn’t very good. As was pointed out on my season premier review comment board by a reader named SpinachPuffs, the band had several years to work out the material for season one, thus being able to fine-tune it perfectly. This was not the case obviously with season two, Bret and Jemaine had to work at a much quicker wait. I hate to say it, but it shows.
Now FOTC are too funny and talented to not make any good material, but for every good musical interlude (“Carol Brown,” “Fashion Is Danger”) there are several ones that are either forgettable (“Friends”) or just plain bad (“Too Many Dicks On The Dancefloor”).
Aside from that specific complaint, the biggest criticism of note is one I’ve already made; these new episodes simply aren’t as funny as season one. There’s no way to put it other than I simply did not laugh as much overall. I don’t know if it just wasn’t as fresh to me this time or what, but there was definitely a drop off in quality as a whole.
I have heard talks that Bret and Jemaine have no plans to do the show any longer. I don’t know if this truly is the end or not, as the final episode of this season was simultaneously conclusive enough for a series finale, but open-ended enough to suggest there may be more of a story to tell. I would suggest maybe a 90-minute special, along the lines of the great Ricky Gervais comedies “The Office” (the original British one) and “Extras.” I think if they got everything perfectly right, it could make for a perfect ending to the series, without running the risk of having an entire new season sinking the show further to the point where it’s only a shell of it’s former self (see “The Simpsons”).
The first season of “Flight of the Conchords” was so indisputably funny, if anyone were to suggest otherwise, I’d chop their whole body off and just leave just a dick behind! My reaction would be much less drastic if such a critique were to be made about season two, as I would resort to calmer responses, like a respectful “I disagree.”
I almost feel bad now, as I have essentially written two mixed reviews for what I feel is easily one of the very best comedy series’ on television. It’s too bad I wasn’t under the employ of this site after my viewing of season one. My final suggestion would be to go out and buy “The Complete First Season” as it will prove to be a purchase you won’t regret. And after you’ve finished, rent season two.
- Not as funny, smart or inventive as the first season
- A sub-par collection of songs
Final Score: 7.5/10 (Would probably be higher if not for such a great first season.)