The first five episodes of this brand new Sky sitcom were funny stuff indeed as DI John Major was gunned down in the opening scene and seemingly dead, until a year later when he’s suddenly brought back to life, 90% human but 10% robot (or AI, anyhow), with the scientist behind it all able to upgrade him when she sees fit. Major’s semi-robotic ways and readjustment to life after death has generated a lot of very amusing scenes, and at times it’s been hilarious stuff indeed.
Unfortunately as with the other recent series that’s tackled what it’s like to survive death, the very, very different US comedy Upload, the season finale is a very serious affair. There’s the odd funny moment but the way it resolves all of the various plot strands makes it a far less entertaining and enjoyable watch, especially as it all played out in a mostly extremely disappointingly predictable manner.
Daniel Mays’ John Major has had the funniest moments throughout the series but now he’s been given yet another upgrade, with this one actually turning him in to the smart super cop that was promised all along. He’s able to solve the crime they’d been working on over the past couple of episodes instantly, and with his newly restore memory is aware that it was his partner Roy Carver who was having an affair with his wife during the time he was dead, but this has made him a lot less amusing alas, with him understandably rather pissed off for most of the episode.
It does at least move the plot forward quickly, but it’s a fairly bland affair, there’s the odd funny moment involving supposed drug dealer but actual criminal mastermind Liam Cleasby (Richard Gadd, superb throughout) who butts in to Major’s private life and offers his opinion on the complicated love triangle that’s evolved over the course of the series, but most of the time it’s a lot of surly staring as Carver and Major face off over what’s happened between them.
Then there’s a rather drab action-y bit towards the end of the episode as Carver and Major scuffle as Cleasby tries to shoot them to death, and coppers DI Gilbert (Steve Oram) and DI Ryle (Emily Lloyd-Saini) turn up to vaguely help save the day – or at least in the case of Gilbert get in the way of a bullet meant for both men, but it plays out exactly how you may have guessed, bar that for some reason it’s Major’s wife Kelly (Anna Maxwell Martin) who knocks Cleasby unconscious rather than any of the other police present.
It remembers to be funny in the very final scenes as the two men finally overcome their issues with each other, Steve Oram’s DI Gilbert gets the best line of the episode and there’s one final gag at the expense of poor old Officer Not Judy (Michelle Greenidge, with the joke revolving around her character getting funnier with each appearance she makes), but it still feels disappointing, with one final twist being something I saw coming a mile off.
If the action sequences had been more exciting, and the way Major and Carver resolved their differences less trite and by the numbers, I may not have minded that it wasn’t that funny. But as it is the final episode feels like a let down, everything’s wrapped up in ways which aren’t that intriguing or involving, and perhaps worst of all is that the new, super intelligent version of DI Major is a lot less interesting a character.
I still hope that the show comes back for a second series, the cast are all fantastic, the concept’s a fun one and there’s surely a lot of ideas and concepts they can play with, but if it does I hope they shake things up a little, come up with a plot which is far more complicated, and that they ditch the love triangle element completely as that particular story strand has been done to death, both here and in way too many other series as well.
Episode Rating: ★★★
Season Rating: ★★★3/4