Third-episode verdict: Veep (HBO)

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Sundays, 10pm, HBO
In the UK: Will air on Sky Atlantic in June

Veep is a show I really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to love. It’s basically the US version of The Thick Of It – okay, technically there was a US version of The Thick of It already, but it was rubbish – with a powerless politician at the mercy of more powerful forces, as well as her own well-meaning, incompetent staff. It’s also by Armando Iannucci and most of The Thick Of It‘s writers, and Chris Morris is one of the producers, so it should be great.

But until this week, it’s been floundering. The cast are all very good, particularly Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice-president and Anna Chlumsky as her chief of staff. It’s all full of types you absolutely can recognise. But with a large cast of characters to service and with no obvious stand-out character in the vein of Malcolm Tucker, it’s largely been flailing around trying to find its feet. Certainly, my wife gave up after five minutes of watching it because it wasn’t very interesting or funny and I’d probably have joined her if I wasn’t writing this ‘ere blog.

But this week, the show seemed at last to work out what to do with itself. We had some proper political shenanigans, some characterisation for vice-president Selina that didn’t involve her simply being crushed by the heel of the political machine, and some laughs as well. Even the secondary characters got a chance to delineate themselves properly at last. It felt a bit like The West Wing in a lot of ways, but without the rose-tinted glasses and more swearing.

So I’m cautiously recommending it now as a show that looks set to get better in the next few weeks at least. Fingers crossed.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Already renewed for a second season, so I’m going to go with "will last at least two seasons"