In the US: Fridays, 10.30/9.30c, IFC
We're three episodes into Portlandia and it's still proving a rewarding, if not totally uniform experience. Essentially a skewed look at the kinds of weird and typically ultra-liberal people allegedly supposed to inhabit Portland, Oregon, it's a lighter version of the League of Gentlemen, mostly fun characters played by the same actors, but with the occasional bit of horror thrown in for good measure. Happily, viewers of That Mitchell and Webb Look, worried that characters would here be repeated ad nauseum and milked dry, needn't worry, since most characters have lasted two episodes at most. It's pretty much all-new, every episode.
Episode one has proven to be the highlight of the series, with some excellent tunes and great sketches, although it wasn't completely perfect. Since then, it's become more of a wry, rather than laugh-out-loud show. This vid is pretty much typical of the show. Here, rock singer and guitarist Aimee Mann has fallen on hard times and is now cleaning houses for a living:
It's that kind of wry, odd, left-leaning humour that typifies the show. However, there are just plain fun characters (a couple whose business is putting pictures of birds on things and a bicycle messenger) and some plain disturbing ones, too (a with a slightly abusive relationship where Fred plays a female character and Carrie Brownstein plays the male character).
You really have to be of a certain niche to enjoy this "to the max" but it can be very funny stuff and it is one of the funniest and best observed shows on the box at the moment.
Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: Might get a second season but don't bank on it.