Given that ratings for the first series of this comedy-drama had halved by the third episode, it’s fair to say few expected its return. Indeed, the show’s writers – ‘Peep Show’ star Matt ‘Superhans’ King and Steve Edge (who played racist Daryl in series two of the same show) have scripted an opener in which literally nothing interesting or amusing or clever or original happens to anyone.
Someone steps on a nail and goes to A&E. Someone else finds an old box in their garden with a metal detector and digs it up. King and Edge’s characters (essentially Superhans minus crack, Daryl minus Nazi salutes) accidentally steal a pair of scissors from a hardware store and get detained by security. God, it’s awful. All the while, a soundtrack of five year-old indie hits gives ‘Starlings’ the feel of an unfunny ‘Inbetweeners’, or worse still, an episode of ‘Hollyoaks’.
Tired set-ups, misfiring humour: this is a show that belongs in an entirely different era. It may have found a little love in the early ’90s, when mediocre-at-best family dramas were passable primetime fluff, but we’d prefer to see it shunted back through history a little further – any time before the invention of the television would be just fine.