Third-episode verdict: Running Wilde

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

Three episodes in and there’s just a chance that Running Wilde is finding its feet. After a shaky start that was largely redeemed by Peter Serafinowicz, episode two proved to be not quite as funny – indeed, "pretty bad" would be a good summary with Peter Serafinowicz being the episode’s only good feature.

But now episode three has shown up on our collective doorsteps and while we’re still not in hysterical territory, this was actually quite a funny episode – even if most of that funny was, you guessed it, thanks to Peter Serafinowicz and despite KFC having possibly the biggest, most obvious smack-to-the-face bit of product placement since the 1950s.

The show’s main difficulty is Keri Russell’s character. If your character is essentially a humorless green activist, be not surprised if that character doesn’t raise many laughs. Episode three showed us the problem wasn’t Russell, since here we had her character temporarily turn evil and be very funny. Arnett’s not quite hitting the comedy highs we know he’s capable of, and where he does succeed, it’s when he’s with Serafinowicz, who manages to make every line he delivers funny – when the line is actually funny (eg when he’s offering vodka to small children) it’s even better.

So there’s a chance that the series is settling down now. It’s still not the funniest new show on the box and unless Russell’s character gets a revamp some time soon, it probably never will be. But it is the sharpest new comedy and has enough signs of promise that I’m going to stick with it, even if it’s likely to get cancelled soon thanks to poor ratings. But that might just be because of Peter Serafinowicz.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Probably going to get cancelled before the end of the season unless there’s a sharp increase in the funny quotient

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.