I have resisted till now the temptation to comment on this TV comedy in case it sounded like special pleading. However, credit where credit is due, this comedy is good. Mostly not ‘laugh out loud’ funny but clever, witty and may make you smile. The critics seem quietly impressed too.

From the Guardian, John Crace (11th Nov 2011) “Quite deliberately, with little fanfare, Rev. gets to the heart of the modern church by exposing it as both a source of much goodness and a complete irrelevance.” Nice for the writers of “Rev.” although somewhat damning with faint praise for the Church of England. Meanwhile Alison Graham has come round to liking the series (‘Radio Times’ week beginning 26th Nov 2011).

From a technical point of view it makes a change to see a fictional portrayal of the C of E that does not have me shouting at the TV: “that service is not authorised”, “you haven’t done the legal preliminaries”, “a green stole in Advent – you must be mad!” OK so it’s not really that important in a film or some such but other professionals have confessed the same impatience with inaccurate portrayals: real police compared to TV cop shows, real forensic scientists compared to etc … well you get the picture. It’s OK when you remember that it is fiction but people do often get their ideas from what they see on TV.

So far I have not noticed any major gaffes. For example, the prayer used in episode 3 was straight from the service of Compline and appropriate for a house blessing – and the archdeacon was quite right: leave exorcism to the experts. Similarly Rev. was right when he explained that the Holy Spirit is not a ghost, although he did start to get unstuck when he talked about “God’s energy” – He is more than an impersonal force – but I don’t expect systematic theology from a comedy.

Of course some of Rev. is somewhat far-fetched; it is fiction, after all. However, I find that any minor discomfort I may feel is because some of it can be quite close to home. Ministry can feel a bit like Rev. sometimes.

As for what rating I would give: technical accuracy 9 out of ten; story lines: 7 out of ten; laughter: 3 out of ten; feel good factor: 8 out of ten. Overall 7 out of ten or four stars.

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