I’d known about “Friday Night Dinner” for awhile and had seen a few episodes here and there, but it wasn’t available on any of my streaming services until recently, when I saw it pop up on Hulu. I thought great, I’ll try it out. Soon, it was an obsession.
The shows centers on a Jewish family in the U.K. who, as you can guess, get together for their traditional dinner on a Friday night, sparking hijinks that inevitably ensue. The father (Paul Ritter) is in his own world, the two sons (Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal) constantly shove one another and bicker like children, and the mother (Tamsin Greig) tries her best to keep order. An eccentric neighbor named Jim played by Mark Heap knocks on their door in every episode, bringing his dog Wilson and very odd requests each time.
The show is so good that it’s lasted five seasons so far with a sixth one due next year, when many popular British shows don’t last past three seasons (of six episodes each), with the creatives and cast thinking they’re beating a dead horse if they go past 18 episodes and maybe a Christmas special. Still, after five seasons, “Friday Night Dinner” has produced but 30 episodes.
America has tried not one, not two, but three times to adapt the show, with the first in 2012 starring Tony Shalhoub and Allison Janney; somehow, this failed to get picked up. One of the versions tried to switch the action to Sunday night, apparently to make it a Christian family? I cannot fathom how they could mess this up so many times. The premise is very simple, starting with the two kids arriving home every week and kicking off the action, resulting in a delicious kind of chaos. If you cast it right, it should sing.
Anyhow, hopefully they’ll try again. But in the meantime, catch the original on Hulu; unfortunately, they’ve only got the first four seasons, so now I have to find an ingenious way to see the fifth (there are ways).