The Referee’s A W***er | Review Score = 4/5
Death Be Not Proud | Review Score = 4/5
Love’s Great Adventure | Review Score = 4/5
Misdirection | Review Score = 5/5
Thinking Out Loud | Review Score =5/5
The Stakeout | Review Score = 4.5/5
In a year where BBC have stumbled out the gates and delivered sub-standard series thus far, Inside No 9 stands out as a shining beacon of hope. With the usual offering of six episodes, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith combine yet again for another marvellous season of screenplay brilliance. Not only are the episodes well written, they’re also arguably some of the best material this anthology has put out to date, once again raising a high bar for other prolific anthologies like Black Mirror to aspire to hit.
From a multi-layered twisting story about magicians, through to a referee forced into making a terrible choice, there’s a lot of variety within the relatively simple set-up for each story. In true Inside No 9 fashion, the plots are never quite as simply as one may think and the various twists at the end are delivered perfectly. This time though, there’s a lot more self-awareness around this which the duo play with multiple times across the season. I won’t divulge these here for spoiler purposes but suffice to say, they’re all goosebump inducing and very well placed.
If you’ve watched the previous seasons then you know what to expect here. The scenes and production design are relatively straight forward with much more emphasis on the ensemble of characters and writing – as it should be for this medium. It’s here Pemberton and Shearsmith come out with all guns blazing, showing just why they’re two of the best writers in the industry right now.
The scripts are multifaceted, with numerous juxtaposed bites of dialogue cleverly placed to seem straight forward and simple but on repeat viewings hiding some really obscure Easter Eggs or nods toward the true meaning of each tale. Even the episode titles themselves play a part in this puzzle box of twists and turns this year. At this point in time the writing far surpasses what Black Mirror and Charlie Brooker have put out in recent years and if you’ve been craving a deliciously dark selection of episodes to fill that void – Inside No 9 should be top of your list.
With the show renewed for a further two seasons and the writing continuing to grow from strength to strength, the future certainly looks bright for Inside No 9. The set-ups may be simple and the show may suffer a little from simple production and set design but don’t let that fool you – Inside No 9 is a fantastic anthology series and one of the must-watch programmes of the year.