Derek is a TV series written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Ricky Gervais. There have been two series. It’s set in an old people’s home and is shot in the style of The Office, where it is a fake documentary.
Derek is available on Netflix (streaming and discs) and DVD.
I have said that Derek is Ricky Gervais’ most important show to date because it tackles some subjects that maybe not everybody wants to face, like treatment of the elderly and the lack of funding toward their care centers and medication. Season 2 also has heart and deals with difficult subjects like estranged parents and how you should put differences aside to reconnect with them before they die. That said, a lot of season 2 feels like it just gives Gervais an excuse to do what he wants. For example, I think Derek spends an episode at the zoo because Gervais is a huge animal lover and wanted to hang out with the animals. Just my opinion.
Season 2 also deals with Hannah’s personal life–trying to get pregnant and hold onto the relationship that she has; with Kev’s drinking problem, which Derek sees as an echo of his father’s alcoholism; with difficult personalities and how to restore them to good, like Geoff trying to recover from being a dick, much in the same way Vicky was able to redeem herself last season; with the death of Derek’s favorite dog; and ultimately with the impending death of his father. These are new subjects the show takes on and it takes them on in the same way as season 1, which may either feel a bit too samey or you may chalk it up to consistency.
Now, Gervais has said that Karl Pilkington’s character Dougie was not intrinsic to the plot, and while that’s true, season 2 does seem to lack something. Dougie’s replacement Geoff is too hard to like. We’re already struggling to like Kev through his bad behavior and pathetic need for beer, so it’s a lot to ask to also sympathize with someone who’s such a prick all the time. We liked Dougie, but I also understand Pilkington’s need to leave the show and Gervais respectfully allowing him to go.
If you enjoyed seeing “twat” written on a crab in season 1, don’t worry, there are plenty of low-brow gags in season 2 to keep you entertained. Derek learns to ride a bike, Derek sets up a dating profile, and Kev’s brother stops by. I was particularly amused that Kev’s brother is played by Joe Wilkinson because when the first season aired, I wondered why they didn’t have Joe Wilkinson play Kev. He seems to be written for Wilkinson to play.