CBS’ new remake of Australian cop comedy No Activity has just released its second season, with Patrick Brammall still in the lead role, albeit with a newly discovered (and entirely convincing) American accent. Partnered up with classic comic actor Tim Meadows, the duo manages to pull off a more relatable working relationship than many other shows that utilise the same tropes.
Despite its mock True Detective style mini-intro, the comedy treads an edge only slightly darker than other cop comedy hits like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as in the second episode where Jessica Alba, researching a role for an upcoming cop show of her own, holds Brammall’s gun to his head while forcing him to eat an entire tray of doughnuts, as well as drink a bottle of his partner’s urine.
The writing behind No Activity is also starkly current, with corruption within the police force commenting directly to the #MeToo movement, both Meadows and Brammall noting a word-for-word correlation between the public apology made by their corrupt Head of Police, and that of Louis C.K. This is an apology which, as they point out, doesn’t even include the word ‘sorry’ anywhere within it.
The show’s star-studded cast of regulars and cameo actors includes comic legends Will Ferrell and Bob Odenkirk, as well as Arturo Castro, better known as Jaimé from the world of Broad City. Sunita Mani also shines as dispatch officer Fatima Khorasani, treading on delicate issues surrounding hacking and women’s privacy with genuine hilarity through her dialogues with fellow dispatch officer Amy Sedaris, played by Janice Delongpre. Jason Mantzoukas, as an undercover FBI agent attempting to infiltrate a ring of underground cockfighters, is engaging, but occasionally his scenes with Cristin Milioti feel more like theatre than convincing television.
At a time of year when television feels like it has been taken over by remakes and Christmas specials, No Activity offers a darkly edged comedy that will surprise you just when you think you’ve figured it all out.