Reviewer: Kate Lloyd
Release: 21 July
From: FremantleMedia International
Age Rating: PG
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that SHH’s showrunner is Simpsons and Futurama alumni, Josh Weinstein. But whereas The Simpsons, especially, is as American as McDonald’s, Strange Hill High is most definitely British (despite the fact that Weinstein was born and raised in Washington DC).
The vocal talent includes The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade and Mrs Merton herself, Caroline Aherne, and the setting is an inner-city primary school, complete with bully, clever clogs, cool kid and nerd. So far, so Grange Hill, if Grange Hill had a sacred-toilet-guarding medieval knight living within its walls, and a school clock that’s actually a time machine. Seriously, this show is mind-blowingly inventive at times.
Did we also mention that it looks amazing? Honestly, the animation is really something, managing to be both old school and state-of-the-art. It’s created by a technique known as ‘hypervynorama’, which combines Japanese vinyl toy design and puppetry with stop-motion animation and computer-generated imagery. The result is beautiful.
A quick word of caution… the first episode (there are seven in total on this release, out of 13 episodes from season one) probably won’t convince you – it didn’t this reviewer. But stick with it. It gets increasingly funny and more bizarre. And by Abercrombie’s moustache the theme tune is catchy. (He’s the headmaster by the way, and a proper tyrant he is, too). Don’t be late for class now…