Free Agents Right now you have the rare opportunity to watch both a new American sitcom and the British show it's based on. The Free Agents that… Free Agents Right now you have the rare opportunity to watch both a new American sitcom and the British show it's based on. The Free Agents that… Stephen Mangan BBC America
TV Review

Free Agents (BBC)

Anthony Head, Stephen Mangan, ... | THREE'S A CROWD Sharon Horgan, Stephen Mangan, and Anthony Head in Free Agents
Image credit: BBC Worldwide
THREE'S A CROWD Sharon Horgan, Stephen Mangan, and Anthony Head in Free Agents
EW's GRADE
B

Details With: Stephen Mangan; Network: BBC America

Right now you have the rare opportunity to watch both a new American sitcom and the British show it's based on. The Free Agents that stars Hank Azaria on NBC is about two PR execs (Azaria and Hung's Kathryn Hahn), their romance, and the difficulty it can cause in the workplace. Meanwhile, BBC America is airing the original version of Free Agents, with Sharon Horgan and Episodes' Stephen Mangan as similar characters. On both shows, Buffy's Anthony Head plays their cheerfully lewd boss.

Azaria's Agents got off to a bad start, with a frantic pilot and mediocre ratings. But the second episode was an improvement creatively: Azaria's Alex and Hahn's Helen displayed some mature-adult chemistry. It may not be enough to save the series, though. By contrast, the Brit original has a lot of sass and flashes of real poignancy. This is an example of how casting a less conventionally attractive lead (Mangan versus Azaria) helps convince you that a character can be awkward, amusingly so, about his single life and his attempts at romance. In each version, Head is a delight. He's calling on the old allure he projected in the series of Taster's Choice coffee commercials that aired in the '90s, which redeems his Agents character's smutty musings. NBC's Free Agents: C+ BBC America's: B

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Originally posted Sep 28, 2011 Published in issue #1175 Oct 07, 2011 Order article reprints
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