There is something about watching two old queens in love battering each other about with words that just never gets old. When it is two such talented old queens, it is even better. McKellan and Jacobi make an unlikely couple, but both have rapier wits and southern belle sensibilities. Think of it as Mad About You but not as well written, gay, and with a lot more bite to it.
Though we’re all the lucky ones getting to watch this crazy trifle, the luckiest dog on the set is Iwan Rheon (Misfits, Game of Thrones), who is the youngest regular cast member and gets to play with two of the biggest talents of the last 50 years. In addition, a cast of recurring characters played by Frances de la Tour, Marcia Warren, and Philip Voss provide wonderful foils for the absurdities that unfurl.
Watching this show is really more an evil confection you eat in secret, late at night, rather than a banner you’ll fly proudly (the writing really does need work). But that doesn’t make it any less entertaining, nor any less close to relationships I’ve known over the years. It is both absurd and real, which is what makes it such painful fun.
UPDATED: And now, the show is even easier to find with its premier on PBS having finally arrived. There was also a Christmas Special at the end of 2013 and series 2 is already scheduled for initial release later this year. Given McKellan is currently hitting the big screen with X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jacobi appears to be racking up yet more series with Last Tango Halifax, I’m glad the two decided to commit to these roles which are so far from those that have made them famous.