I love, love, LOVE the original This Life. I watched it when it was first on, while living in a shared house with college friends, and it was basically like our real lives only with more sex and drugs (well, a lot more sex and any drugs at all, actually). Then I rewatched it five years ago when the Beeb repeated it, and it still stood up well, then I rewatched it again last month when the Beeb repeated it again, and it STILL stood up well. This is because it was Quality Telly. It had great humour, great drama, great wobbly-cam, and amazing characters who weren't always likeable but were often unmissable and could always outdrink the Brazilian navy.
The only minor blot on its greatness was that it was devised by Amy Jenkins, a wildly erratic writer who had a few decent ideas but rather more stupid ones, especially those designed to add cutting-edge street cred (e.g. ignoring all the main characters to devote time to Delilah the boring druggie and her stupid plot-device boyfriend). The first series was good, but the second series was the golden age of This Life that we all remember. And what we don't always remember is the second series was when Amy Jenkins wasn't writing for it any more. Methinks these two facts are closely related.
So therefore, when I heard she was writing the reunion show, my expectations were very low. And now I've seen it, rightly so. Frankly, I could have written a better This Life reunion than that. Hey, even Russell T. Davies could have written a better This Life reunion than that.* It was so dull and predictable that I can't even recount all the eyerollingly tedious plot developments. Oh no, the formerly fabulous Anna is now an embittered spinster dying to reproduce! Oh no, Miles now has the worst haircut in the history of 70s football and he's married to a cardboard cutout who will conveniently leave after twenty minutes! Oh no, Milly and Egg are now the parents of the world's most unrealistically quiet and undemanding child, and yet they are still not happy! Oh no, Warren is still vaguely miserable with a poorly defined life! Oh no, Ferdy is dead but no one asks Warren about him at all!
Where were all the other characters, like Joe and Kira (who, lest we forget, was ace)? What was with the stupid and convoluted making-a-film-within-a-film plot? Who'd want to watch a documentary about a little-known writer's unknown friends anyway? Why hasn't Andrew Lincoln aged a day, but Daniela Nardini looks like a middle-aged auntie? Suffice to say, it's all a big disappointment. I don't know what I wanted it to be like, but it needed to have a spark of realism and originality to it, and some actual humour. In the end, it was like catching up with some old friends and realizing why you never bother to see them any more. All a bit sad, really.
So leave me out of your next reunion, guys and girls. I think I prefer to remember the glory days...
*I'm picturing the five of them running Torchwood 4 from a Southwark-based ice-cream van: Miles gets beaten up for calling a Weevil a poof, Anna downs two bottles of Soave before a stake-out and can't shoot straight, Milly's shagging a lesbian alien because Egg doesn't understand her, and Warren accidentally acquires psychic powers while cottaging during a planetary conjunction. Come on, it'll run and run!