The new Ricky Gervais comedy-drama Derek has premiered in the U.S. exclusively on Netflix, and tonight you can catch talk show host extraordinaire Charlie Rose interviewing Gervais about it.
If Ricky Gervais didn’t star in the series, and if you didn’t read through the credits, you might have no idea that he was the show’s writer and director. Yes, Derek is a comedy-drama, a mockumentary, but of an altogether different sort from his other series, Extras and the original The Office (UK).
The requisite humorous bits, awkward moments, and breaking the fourth wall are there, but so are the lump-in-throat, get-out-the-tissues times.
And unlike his previous characters David Brent and Andy Millman, Gervais’ Derek Noakes isn’t full of himself or trying to get one over on people. Quite the opposite.
Derek, a caretaker at a nursing home, is honest, gentle, and kind to a fault. Although he may be limited in his social and intellectual skills, his generosity of heart, cheery disposition, and dedication to his job and the people he works with are more than enough to compensate for any shortcomings.
His best mates are Dougie (Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show), the honey-do guy, if you will, at the nursing home, and Kev (David Earl, Cemetery Junction), an out-of-work layabout who hangs around the nursing home, presumably for lack of anything better to do.
And then there’s Hannah (Kerry Godliman, Home Time), who rose through the ranks to be the nursing home manager. She, like Derek, is devoted to her work and the residents, albeit at the expense of her having a personal life. (Nothing that a bit of self-confidence couldn’t fix, I say.) Hannah is Derek’s friend, champion and defender, and those who are mean enough to demonstrate their ignorance and prejudice would do well not to. Derek adores Hannah, and she him.
And I adore Derek, as many others who’ve seen and reviewed it do. It’s touching, full of hope, and yes, it’s funny, too.
Netflix is currently streaming all seven episodes of Derek — easily binge-watchable at just under three hours for the entire season.
Charlie Rose’s interview with Ricky Gervais about Derek airs tonight on local PBS member stations across the U.S. Because Charlie Rose is on at different times in different cities, check your local listings for the air time in your area. And if you miss the broadcast, visit the Charlie Rose website or the Charlie Rose channel on Hulu starting tomorrow to stream the video.
[UPDATED] Or watch it here.