Series One (DVD)
Acorn Media, £24.99
(Buy at Amazon)
The goal of a start-up is to develop a killer product that makes the founders a fortune. Loaded, a television series that finished its run on Channel 4 last month and is now out on DVD, is about what happens after the cash has rolled in.
Four friends – sensible Josh (Jim Howick), fixer Leon (Samuel Anderson), timid Ewan (Jonny Sweet) and not-quite-reformed stoner Watto (Nick Helm) – have come into millions thanks to their development of a hit game for mobile phones. The downside is that they must learn how to cope with their newfound wealth while adjusting to life as employees under the heel of their new boss, Casey (Mary McCormack).
The first few episodes focus on the quartet’s reaction to their apparent good luck, which gives rise to a large number of laugh-out-loud moments. Anderson is especially hilarious as someone crass enough to hire a barbershop quartet to deliver a special message to everyone who has ever turned him down. At the other extreme, Helm’s character becomes so disillusioned by the consequences of his wealth that he attempts to give most of it away, which ends up causing a riot.
However, Loaded is not just a “rich nerds behaving badly” sitcom. Writers Jon Brown, DC Jackson and Georgia Pritchett take some deft swipes at the technology industry, poking fun at silly app ideas and networking events, and the dialogue is strong and sharp. As the series progresses, the madcap humour of the opening parts gives way to a more serious tone – but this doesn’t always work.
The writers try to cram too many plot twists and turns into the final two episodes, making the ending appear rushed. However, the show’s many strengths, including an excellent supporting cast, more than make up for the occasional flaw.
What the press said
Loaded is “a brasher and more blokey” version of the hit US show Silicon Valley, says Michael Hogan in The Daily Telegraph. The divisive nature of money is a fertile theme, and Loaded had “promise and fizz”, but it strained too hard for laughs and the lack of likeable characters meant there was nobody really to root for.
The adage that money doesn’t buy you happiness is an old one, says Ben Dowell in the Radio Times, but here it is brought to “joyous, funny, painful life”. A supreme delight of the show is its silliness and the best set pieces carry genuine imaginative spark. The show has definite “start-up potential”.