Name a good, recent sci-fi show on British TV aimed specifically at teens. It’s difficult, isn’t it? E4’s Tripped aims to fill that gap in the schedule.
George Webster stars as hapless stoner Milo, while ex-Inbetweener Blake Harrison plays it straight as his more grown-up mate Danny, who much to Milo’s annoyance, is engaged to Georgina Campbell’s Kate. And then a strange man with a sword tries to kill Milo, who’s rescued by another version of Danny, leaving behind a bracelet that can transport our heroes to parallel universes. Yes, they do get stuck in the wrong world, and yes, they do get into all sorts of japes on their quest to get back.
This Bill and Ted-esque concept comes from a good team – Mathieson (creator and co-writer of episode one) wrote some of the best recent Doctor Who episodes, and the Williams brothers (writers on all four episodes) also have varied comedy and drama credits. The three have a lot of fun with the parallel universe concept, starting small – a world where Milo’s dead gran is alive – before upping the stakes more and more, even taking us to a world on the brink of nuclear destruction. Throughout this, the boys are pursued by brutal killers from somewhere in the multiverse, but the plot never gets too complicated, wisely focusing on the characters and the humour.
Despite several very funny moments, however, the comedy doesn’t always hit its targets. At times, it’s very Inbetweeners, with jokes about drugs and various bodily functions, and yet it’s so invested in moving the plot along quickly that it doesn’t allow the jokes to play out to their full potential, while other gags feel crude for crudeness’ sake – a mention that a parallel version of Danny’s dad is dating a Korean rent boy is not a joke in itself, and yet Tripped seems to think it is.
The character development, despite Harrison and Webster providing a very watchable double act, is equally hit and miss. Danny’s story about having to choose between being friends with Milo and his love for Kate works very well, and is neatly reflected in all the versions of Kate they meet, but Milo’s story is on less solid ground; later in the series, a scene highlights how his adventures have helped him grow up, but the series hasn’t done enough to convince us he has.
Nevertheless, the pace of Tripped – whole new worlds are explored in each forty minute episode – makes it an enjoyable watch, and with only four of those episodes, it’ll only take an evening to get through. It’s neither the funniest comedy nor the most exciting sci-fi you’ll see this year, but it’s a trip you won’t regret taking.
Special Features: None
TRIPPED- SERIES 1 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JAMIE STONE / SCREENPLAY: JAMIE MATHIESON, HARRY & JACK WILLIAMS / STARRING: BLAKE HARRISON, GEORGE WEBSTER, GEORGINA CAMPBELL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW