It’s actually a lot better than that. Having just watched the third (and probably final) season on Hulu, I consider it another of those miniature BBC masterpieces, like “The Office” or “Fawlty Towers.” I say “miniature” because the best BBC sitcoms almost always have the good taste to wrap it up after a couple of seasons. And each season usually consists of only 6 or 7 episodes.
Imagine if American sitcoms did that. Imagine The Fonz with a character arc, Jed Clampett saying to hell with Beverly Hills after 13 shows. Maybe the writing would have been better.
“Rev.” has some great writing: funny and poignant, often at the same time. Tom Hollander does play a vicar (the Rev. Adam Smallbone), but his crumbling church in East London is somewhat less bucolic than one might hope. His pews are mostly empty and his few parishioners are not exactly paragons of virtue. His archdeacon boss seems kind of satanic. His own efforts at piety tend to clash with the reality of urban decay.
It’s easy for a show like this to mock religion, but “Rev.” never does. Maybe just the opposite. Toward the end there’s a wonderful episode, not preachy and not entirely predictable, that seems to give faith its due. I won’t spoil it, but look for Ralph Fiennes, and later, Liam Neeson. It’s a great coda to a memorable series. Dave Bob says check it out. And let me know what you think.