Created by: James Bobin, Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement
Cast: Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal, Arj Barker
Synopsis: The Flight of the Conchords is the name of a struggling New Zealand music duo trying to make it in the US. They have a just as inept Kiwi band manager, and one single obsessed fan. Each episode follows a loose story arc, all of which include parody musical pieces featuring observational humour.
Up until recently, I had frequently seen individual episodes of this series, however never have I managed to see an entire season. Now I have sat through the entire first season, I can definitely consider myself a fan, however it is perhaps a series best viewed intermittently rather than marathoned. In other words, I find it best to consume in small doses.
Our lead duo are Bret (McKenzie) and Jemaine (Clement). They are best friends, they write music, and struggle to get gigs and hence, earn money to pay for every day essentials. They play off of each other well, a chemistry which can only come from true friendship outside of this series. They are of course at their best when they feature their parody music videos. The music has its own tone and style, so much so that their influence on The Muppets, which they had song-writing duties on, is clearly identified. These moments are the true strength of the series, and the plot develops to service these moments.
The supporting cast is also a true delight. Darby is brilliant as the hapless manager Murray. He quite often steals the show from the two leads, proving to be even more inept than they are. Most of his scenes are in his office of the New Zealand Consulate, which is a mirror of the character himself, with promotional posters like “New Zealand… why not?” and equipment so old it reflects his inability to move with the times. The other great support player is Schaal as the single fan Mel, and for me perhaps the single best element of the show. Her obsession is very “single white female” without the “single”. as she drags her husband along whilst she ogles them. Indeed the revelations about her character over the course of the season are perhaps the most surprising.
In the first season, there are a lot of episodes that are absolute gems. Unfortunately, I can make no claim that it is in any way consistent. For every great episode that has you laughing from end to end, sometimes the attempts at drawing black comedy from internal band conflict does go a little to far. At times, it is either kinda creepy or indeed incredibly frustrating that anyone would act so foolishly, even if it is a parody. These occasions are unfortunate, and do make some episodes a bit of a chore to get through, at least until the next musical parody starts.
This is a small complaint though, given that the series is nothing if not original. It would have received a perfect rating if only the hit-to-miss ratio of the gags and episode quality could ave been a little more consistent.
3.5 stars out of 5
Sample Track [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ekY8TMJ4w&feature=related]