Psychoville is a British webseries that won the British Comedy Award when it aired on the BBC network in 2009. Now showing on FEARnet’s Twisted Comedy Block, the show combines classic murder mystery with the blackest of black comedy, creating an ongoing saga that’s filled with surprises.
When the premise for a television series involves one-handed clowns, insane maternity nurses, eccentric blind millionaires, and telekinetic dwarf porn stars, you might be expecting a lazy David Lynch or overeager young surrealist. It’s a bizarre relief to learn that Psychoville is actually as enjoyable as it is weird.
The series begins by traveling across England and introducing a variety of characters—the aforementioned oddballs plus a Norman Bates-like boy child and his serial killer obsessed mother, among others—all distinctly different and strange but with one thing in common. With the last mail delivery, each of our ensemble receives a mysterious wax-sealed letter stating, plainly and simply, “I know what you did.”
It’s the start of a grand mystery that only the British can truly pull off with the proper balance of macabre humor and intrigue. Created by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton (who also play, respectively, the disgruntled clown Mr. Jelly, the creepy mama’s boy David Sowerbutts, and various other characters), Psychoville cranks its bizarreness to eleven while maintaining a sweet level of heart, primarily represented by the lovestruck dwarf Robert Greenspan (played by Jason Tompkins).
Psychoville is also paced with great care, constantly moving between storylines and keeping our interests high all the way through. Even side characters–like the horridly gruesome Witches of Ebay–are crafted with both visual care and uniquely sharp performances.
For those looking for something truly different, funny, and occasionally, quite gross, Psychoville is a refreshing twist on the mystery genre. The show is now airing on FEARnet at 10:30PM on Tuesday nights, with bonus content streaming online at FEARnet.com.