FX’s The Full Monty Loses Its Rhythm in Series Form | TV/Streaming

With many episodes written by co-creators Simon Beaufoy and Alice Nutter, our heroes find themselves in mildly amusing situations, however contrived, like in the pilot when Gaz is suddenly under the control of a show-dog who was accidentally kidnapped by his joyriding daughter Dez (Talitha Wing) and her friend Cal (Dominic Sharkey). Gaz is called upon to do something ridiculous and dark with the dog. But it’s a happy and responsive dog as if it were a Monty member; it feels too much like a cute but not-that-clever device. The same goes for a elaborate storyline involving an elusive prized pigeon with which Lomper tries to make a big payday.

This “Full Monty” wants to be its own beast, with narratives that continue the movie’s recognizable themes of dancing through the hardship and a tone that chases its music-driven montages with something far more serious (about half the episodes involve characters experiencing suicide ideation ). But nearly every episode, I found myself checking the run-time to realize that I was only halfway through. Even an amusingly devised episode involving a hostage situation overstays its welcome, its dry wackiness not offering nearly enough of the charm it needs.

At least the series has a good sense to be visually striking, in non-flashy ways—it punches up the color whenever it can, as inside Big Baps. And like Cattaneo’s film, it knows the best visuals are inherent with the location, as it places many of its dialogue scenes on the hills of Sheffield, overlooking the skyline of a place that has always had its bittersweet nature. It’s as reliable an aesthetic as when the camera sometimes frames its longing characters in the third of the frame, emphasizing even more their isolation, and how destabilized they have become from their centering happiness.

It’s likely that “The Full Monty” the series will hit the spot for some, especially considering that “Ted Lasso” has ended and taken his “BELIEVE” sign with him. But while this “Full Monty” hardly inspires cynicism, it’s a sincere production that still struggles to assert itself as any more than fleeting comfort TV inspired by a far more memorable—and shorter—movie.

All of season one was screened for review. The entire first season of “The Full Monty” is now available on FX on Hulu.