We are in a golden age of television. We are also in an age of excess. As such, we often have to pick and choose what we watch, because we simply don’t have enough time to watch everything that is good. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of great shows slip through the cracks. As a fan of TV, who watches much more TV than the regular person, I am always sad to see some of the best TV shows slip so far beneath the radar that they become obscure and unknown. In an effort to improve the standing of some of these “lost” shows, I have decided to create Spotlight, a new Feature series at TVEnthusiast. Spotlight will be a regular article series that, with each iteration, pleads the case of a different series that has somehow slipped under the radar.
The Wrong Mans
Co-created by, and starring, James Corden and Mathew Baynton (Gavin & Stacey), The Wrong Mans is a British serialized action sitcom. The 2 season, 10 episode, series was co-produced by the BBC and Hulu in late 2012, and released in late 2013, though a pilot episode of Baynton and Corden’s concept was initially made way back in 2010. The series was inspired by the intricate plotting of serialized dramas from America, most notably LOST and 24. Corden and Baynton wanted to develop a comedy with the same rich plotting of these American serialized shows. The Wrong Mans, which uses the grammatically incorrect plural for comedic effect, is the result of this idea.
What is The Wrong Mans?
As noted above, The Wrong Mans is an intricately plotted serialized comedy, but you might be wondering what that actually looks like. The Wrong Mans ends up working as a perfectly serviceable action thriller, that just happens to be hilarious. The more seriously the story is taken, and the more intricate the direction, the funnier the series ends up being. There is just something universal hilarious about ordinary people in situations that are far beyond their stations. To top it off, over the course of the serialized story, the characters go from being one note caricatures to fully developed and well rounded characters. The easiest way to describe the series might be to say that The Wrong Mans is like 24 with the characters from The Office. Everyday ordinary men placed in perpetually extraordinary circumstances, for the amusement of the audience.
What makes The Wrong Mans good?
As a comedy series, the most important qualification of quality is quite simple. Is the series funny? Yes, it is. Beyond that gate, The Wrong Mans actually tells a compelling narrative filled with twists, turns, threats to our heroes, and redemptive character arcs. James Corden (who now hosts The Late Late Show on CBS) is great as the office loser who always imagined more from himself despite nobody else believing in him, and Mathew Baynton (You, Me and the Apocalypse) is perfect as our conflicted central protagonist who just wants his girlfriend back, but is burdened with human decency and a sense of justice. Together the 2 have a natural chemistry that carries them through believable fights, tense danger, and an unexpectedly genuine friendship. In fact, the series, as a whole, works off the backs of Corden and Baynton who both wrote the series and performed in the leading roles.
Why is The Wrong Mans Featured on Spotlight?
The Wrong Mans actually did well in the United Kingdom, but we still feel that it deserves some extra attention. While the series was considered a hit in the UK, and got some billboards and decent advertising in the States, The Wrong Mans, unfortunately, never took off in America. As a Hulu original, a series simply cannot expect the attention garnered by a network or cable series. Nor does it have the dramatic qualities to garner the kind of attention Amazon’s Transparent, and Netflix’s House of Cards gets. The Wrong Mans should be towards the top of every Hulu queue, but unfortunately, those queues tend to be filled with the next day streams of last night’s network hits like The Flash, and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. This is in contrast to a service like Netflix, which is becoming more and more lauded for their originals. At the end of the day, Hulu just simply isn’t known for its original content (though this may thankfully change soon). Most Hulu users, currently, don’t even know the service provides original content. As such, The Wrong Mans is past due for some attention, so, in an effort to raise even the tiniest additional awareness of the series, we have cast our spotlight upon it.
Should I Watch The Wrong Mans?
I wrote an entire article about why you should and you have read this far already, so simply put, yes, you should. To be more specific though, do you find yourself asking for a more complex story when you watch your sitcoms? Did you enjoy 24, but felt it needed more of a sense of humor? If so, The Wrong Mans just might scratch the right itch for you. While The Wrong Mans is a comedy series, it is also heavily serialized. If all you want is to sit down and laugh here or there, The Wrong Mans’ more intricate plot might demand too much of your attention. If, however, you are looking for a comedy you can invest in, The Wrong Mans might be exactly what you are looking for. If you are an anglophile, may I remind you that the series is, in fact, British. Might I also suggest that it looks great in your Hulu queue, like a copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha in your library.
The Wrong Mans ran for 2 seasons. Both seasons are available to stream on Hulu. With the current schedule of series star James Corden, who is now the host of The Late Late Show on CBS, a 3rd season is unlikely, and based on the way things wrapped up, unnecessary.
Have you seen The Wrong Mans? Are you interested? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.