Derek Jacobi | Ian McKellen | Television

Ian McKellen's 'Vicious' Premiering On PBS Tonight: VIDEO

Vicious_S1_Ep01_003.jpg__640x360_q85Vicious, a British ITV sitcom starring out gay actors Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, is finally making its widespread US debut on PBS tonight. Originally entitled Vicious Old Queens, the show features the two knighted thespians as Freddie and Stuart, an older gay couple embroiled in a decades-long love/hate relationship.

A deviation from other contemporary programming aimed at LGBT audiences like Modern Family, Looking, or True Blood, Vicious is more or less a return to the traditional Brit-com formula, relying on cheeky innuendo and absurdly high-brow casting decisions. Vicious premieres on local PBS affiliates across the country tonight at 10:30 P.M. EST.

Watch a promo for the show, AFTER THE JUMP...




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  1. I watched some of the clips on You Tube and it looks like a fun romp. Maybe the writing is a formula we all know, but they seem to pull it off. ::Crossing fingers::

    Posted by: Angela Channing | Jun 29, 2014 9:52:52 PM

  2. The first couple episodes are pretty horrible but it does turn around in the middle and Ramsey Bolton is an added bonus. I think the second season will be much improved. It just takes the cast a while to find their feet.

    Posted by: Lazycrockett | Jun 29, 2014 9:57:59 PM

  3. Oh good. Because we'd just about shed our image as nasty old queens, so it's time to completely reinforce that.

    Posted by: Tigernan | Jun 29, 2014 10:01:31 PM

  4. Just saw it. Huge disappointment. Really huge. It's a throwback, with horrible writing--like Two Broke Girls--setup, punchline, setup, insult, setup, forced awkward moment, setup, punchline, setup.....

    And it's way too queeny for me. A huge waste of two notable actors.

    Also, it's a video of a stage performance, with enunciation to fill the hall--no subtlety.


    Posted by: Tatts | Jun 29, 2014 11:10:42 PM

  5. Just saw it. I'll keep watching it anyway, but it is pretty thuddingly presentational and really not that well directed. Even on stage it would actually be a lot funnier if it was played more slyly and with more nuance and layers and sense of reality by everyone.

    I don't get the casting of the new neighbor at all. He shouldn't look like a model or Chippendale dancer or something - that would be as unsubtle as the rest of the show - but he's really below average in looks, face and body. The average younger straight guy is hotter and/or more interesting than that.

    But I'll watch it anyway and hope it does indeed get better.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jun 29, 2014 11:17:36 PM

  6. It's lighthearted summer fun. Broad comedy. Great actors.

    Posted by: William Hall | Jun 29, 2014 11:53:16 PM

  7. It runs only one season and ran in England last year. It does get better as the episodes go on. There is a cute straight hotty who joins the cast and he adds to the fun of the whole thing. Was hoping for a second season but no. Enjoy while it lasts!

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jun 30, 2014 12:11:07 AM

  8. I have to record it since the two vicious old queens I have Sunday night dinner with usually fall asleep after two much drink and wine. And when I say vicious...they're close to 80, one is an arch Conservative and the other is a mean drunk who thinks he's funny spouting stupid sarcasms. One would think this is a perfect show for them, but I think the irony may be lost on the egotists.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Jun 30, 2014 1:27:22 AM

  9. The part about their guests not bringing anything to the wake and the "a slice of nothing" jokes were especially funny...

    Posted by: cdubois | Jun 30, 2014 2:08:18 AM

  10. Being gay I found it to be far too GAY. Playing on stereotypes. Love both actors but not this piece. Have seen it already.

    Posted by: L G. | Jun 30, 2014 4:24:12 AM

  11. some of these reviews are almost word for word the same reviews Looking received.

    Posted by: snork | Jun 30, 2014 5:03:18 AM

  12. This is immesurably dreadful. TATTS and others have said it well. Are their really people like this? God, I know there are. In real life I would get up and leave (as I have), in the theater, or on film they are even worse company. May there never ever in the future be any excuse for such awful, affected, deconstructed examples of humanity.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 30, 2014 5:16:00 AM

  13. This is an old style british sit-com. Everything focused around one set and quite simply a stellar british cast. You really do not get people like Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Frances De La Tour turning up on the same stage very often.
    Yes, the humour is a little coarser then you americans are used to. It is hard work initially, if you persevere you will get used to it. I can happily say that I recognise all of those characters among my friends and cherish them.

    Posted by: Chippy James | Jun 30, 2014 5:58:46 AM

  14. I was hoping to be able to stick it out for a few episodes to see if it ever really found its footing but the laugh track... ugh.... That did it for me. Don't the producers trust these two actors to be able to pull off a joke without needing to cue the audience with a laugh track? Too bad. It might have been fun.

    Posted by: erkang | Jun 30, 2014 6:33:26 AM

  15. There is a 2nd season on ITV in the UK right now. I assume we will also see that on PBS.

    Posted by: Jim in TO | Jun 30, 2014 7:26:07 AM

  16. please stop taking this show so serious, it's funny, it's a comedy, it reminded me so much of the comedy style of Are you being served. All i have to the people who hate it, don't watch it.

    Posted by: David | Jun 30, 2014 8:59:05 AM

  17. What a dreadful waste of talent. The show is offensive, but far worse, it is so unfunny as to be dreary.

    Posted by: Jay | Jun 30, 2014 9:45:23 AM

  18. David: Nobody's taking it seriously. The problem is that it isn't funny. It's just contrived and so badly written.

    Yes, there is a lot of Are You Being Served in it, and I loathed that show. The posing, the arch reactions, the constant forced insults, etc.

    Posted by: Tatts | Jun 30, 2014 9:53:35 AM

  19. I liked "Are You Being Served," which I thought was funny and, actually, quite subversive. But "Vicious" is just embarrassingly bad. I can't understand why Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellan would do such trash. They certainly don't need the money, and they ought to be able to read scripts by now.

    Posted by: Jay | Jun 30, 2014 10:19:09 AM

  20. I saw it last night, I have to agree with some posters here, it's really bad. What a dire, depressing view of gay relationships! "We'll stay together for 48 years even though we loathe each other and oh by the way, I've lied to you all these years about a man who was smitten with you".

    The two old goats leering at the young guy was icky, the writing seems to be of the "lets throw ten jokes out there, maybe two will work" style and when the best bits are the party guest complaining about the food, that's pretty sad.

    I hope everyone involved with this is at least getting paid well.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jun 30, 2014 10:30:46 AM

  21. PBS - Pushing British S**t

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 30, 2014 11:20:13 AM

  22. " with horrible writing--like Two Broke Girls"

    It made Two Broke Girls look like Ibsen! Utterly horrendous...I can't believe any of the actors were willing to star in it.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jun 30, 2014 11:34:50 AM

  23. Hideous first episode--I actually turned the TV off in disgust before the episode was even over.

    Stereotyping of gay men as effeminate, sex-obsessed, nasty queens. About as bad as any gay TV series I have ever seen.

    Most pathetically, Derek Jacobi does not behave like that in real life and has never behaved that way in any of his roles, so the effeminacy was entirely contrived as a way of defining "gay" as "effaminate", the way that so many homophobes do.

    Why in God's name cannot someone make a single TV show, comedy or drama, that depicts gay men as normal, non-effeminate, mainstream people?

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 30, 2014 11:35:57 AM

  24. "it's funny, it's a comedy, it reminded me so much of the comedy style of Are you being served."

    NO. Are You Being Served was actually funny.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Jun 30, 2014 1:03:25 PM

  25. Are You Being Served also has the advantage of being over forty years old. Plus more different types of characters and more satire of British tradition.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jun 30, 2014 2:01:52 PM

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