Seasons one and two of the Mighty Boosh are such entirely different animals that I think they should be dealt with separately. After hearing about this show from friends for years, we finally managed to see one late at night on BBC America (apparently they feel that 1am on a Saturday is the prime time to showcase one of their most inventive and hilarious shows).
The first season introduces us to Howard Moon (played by Julian Barratt), a jazz aficionado and generally amiable loser who weaves together what are typically considered some of the worst personality quirks (envy, jealousy, laziness, self importance) into an inexplicably charming character.
Moon's best friend, (played with equal charm by former Brix Pick hunk, Noel Fielding) Vince Noir is a vain mod/glam rocker who floats happily through routine daily life and always enjoys the spoils of their adventures. He can also speak to animals (though he squanders his gift chatting to them mainly about Gary Numan, imagine that?) .
They work in a less than a stellar zoo (called the Zooniverse) that's run by a nearly retarded manager, Bob Fossil, who can't remember the “scientific” names of the animals and instead refers to them by semi descriptive phrases like “the gray legged face man” (an elephant) and “the long mover; windy man” (a snake).
Other characters on the scene are Naboo, a shaman who loves Fleetwood Mac; Mrs. Gideon an older foreign lady Howard Moon is in love with; and, this week's style icon, Matt Berry as Dixon Bainbridge, a “real live action man” and all around shady character who owns the zoo.
This is a show that's really hard to accurately describe. Many of my favorite parts consist of nothing more than the easy banter between Noir and Moon that proceeds their bizarre adventures in which they encounter a wide variety of interesting friends foes: mutant animals, Black Frost, and Charlie–a huge wad of bubble gum with a mustache. It's truly unique and it's one of the best comedies we've seen in some time.
Then there's season two which, sadly, disposes of both the Zooniverse and Bob Fossil; a development that angered fans and made the show suffer. One can easily see why Barrat and Fielding wanted to change the format, try new things and expand their characters but, too often, it feels like they enjoy playing the roles more than we enjoy watching them.
This new format, which starts the adventure right away (gone are the funny conversations I loved), makes the show feel a bit more like a hit or miss sketch comedy half hour. Don't get me wrong, it's still way funnier than nearly everything on our domestic networks right now, and some additions, like the slow witted full moon and Bollo the gorilla playing a larger role as Naboo's familiar, are ingenious.
Still, the first season works better for me by leaps and bounds. Let's hope the highly anticipated third season is totally excellent! I can hardly wait to see.