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"Does the brain control you or are you controlling the brain?"

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 26, 2009 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 26, 2009 |

HBO has signed Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant up for a new show. But unlike “The Office” and “Extras,” this new show won’t star Gervais or Merchant. In live-action, anyways, since it’s going to be a 13-episode animated version of the “The Ricky Gervais Show,” the popular podcast starring the duo and Karl Pilkington, their bald-heady, weird, little friend.

I listened to the podcast regularly for the first dozen-or-so episodes. Although I stopped listening right around the time they started charging for it, I didn’t stop listening specifically because of that (even though I am a miserly Jew). Rather, I stopped listening because I found it getting awfully repetitive. It was very entertaining for a while, but it had devolved into constant ribbing on Pilkington and didn’t feel that fresh (particularly when they would do repeat bits like Pilkington’s sharing of news stories involving monkeys). That being said, I could see this working out very well as an animated show. I could also see it being the suck, if it’s the type of thing where it’s largely them talking with the animation visualizing what they’re talking about — those types of animated segments don’t work for me, especially in longform.

But we won’t be able to find out if this works or not for a while, as the show isn’t likely to premiere before early ‘10, at the soonest.

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Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.