Frank of Ireland 18

Showing On: Channel 4

Season: 1

Actors: Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson

Release Date: Thursday 15th April 2021

Genre(s): Comedy

A joint collaboration between Channel 4 and Amazon Studios, the Irish series is created by, and stars, brothers Brian and Domhnall Gleeson.

In 'Frank of Ireland', we meet 30-something-year-old Frank (Brian Gleeson) who still lives at home with his mother, Mary (Pom Boyd), in Dublin. So far in his life, Frank has managed to skate on by doing the absolute bare minimum, and the series acts as an epiphany moment of sorts for the character, with the washed-up musician slowly beginning to realise that he needs to get his act together. Alongside his forever-attentive best friend Doofus (Domhnall Gleeson), Frank goes about his everyday life basically causing havoc for everyone he comes into contact with. 

Let's start with the positives - the first two episodes of the series are stellar. It makes you realise that yes, there's a Frank out there in every part of the country (if someone doesn't come to mind, then it might well be you). Our first introduction to the character sees Frank awoken by his mother walking into his bedroom, and telling him his ex-girlfriend Áine (Sarah Greene), in the bed beside him, is awful boring. It's this dark humour and later erratic nature of the series that is pleasant to see, at first.

The ensemble cast, which also includes Pat Shortt, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Liz Fitzgibbon, and a couple of note-worthy cameo appearances make the series more enjoyable than it really should be (but the episode six cameo doesn't hit as well as you'd hope). Also, it has to be acknowledged how fluidly Brian and Domhnall Gleeson bounce off each other. The brothers' chemistry is just so natural and it would be a shame not to see them on screen together again in the future.

However, 'Frank of Ireland' walks that often-treaded Irish sitcom formula of going hell-for-leather on upping the madness element, and it really isn't needed. Not wanting to compare the series to all of the previous hit-and-miss Irish sitcoms we've had in the past, the Gleeson brothers have delivered something that we had high hopes for, but never quite manages to leave a worthwhile impression after viewing.

The characters are just too chaotic, with absolutely no virtues, that it's difficult to feel invested in what happens to them by the series finale. Just once, we'd love to see Irish characters on screen that aren't gunning for only themselves. Domhnall Gleeson's Doofus comes the closest to not having this characterisation, but he ends up getting lost in an ocean of mé féin-ers. Having said that, look at how successful 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' has been; even though each of the characters in the US sitcom are trash, the show still works effortlessly.

Ultimately, the comedy becomes quite predictable and stale as the series progresses, and results in a rather unfunny mess by the end. It's a real pity too, as there are only six episodes.

'Frank of Ireland' is available to watch now using the All 4 app.