DVD Review: Sugartown



Sugartown is a British comedy that defies US TV conventions. What US network would green light a miniseries lasting three episodes that are only an hour long? In America, a comedy show fills a thirty-minute time slot and better have 22 episodes a season. Studios demand it at least dream of reaching lucky 100 episodes for syndication gold. Even HBO and Showtime would scratch their heads at such a short series even with their history with Eastbound & Down and Weeds. But things are different across the pond where 12 episodes are considered the American equivalent of Gunsmoke. At best a network suit would tell them to slash the running time in half and make it a movie. The unconventional set up for Sugartown works for the show that aired on BBC One. It’s just the right amount of time and the proper pacing to tell the tale of two brothers and a candy factory.

Sugartown is a sweet little town on the English coast. For decades, the candy company has been it’s big calling card to the nation. However the sugary treats haven’t been selling at that same levels and the town’s tourism cash is drying up. Jason Burr (Shaun Dooley) is doing his best to keep up the family business. He doesn’t want the workers at the candy factory to fear things that the books are as red as bag of Red Vines. His brother Max Burr (Tom Ellis) has a brilliant plan to turn the town into a major hot spot. He wants to establish a major casino operation. While this sounds like a winner, his proposed location is the Candy Factory. To add even more tension between the Burr brothers, there’s Emily (Miranda Raison). She’s Jason’s fiance, but Max also has eyes for her. Is Max really going to destroy his brother’s factory and his future wedding plans? The locals also come up with a plan to attract attention to the town using the power of dance. Will people flock to Sugartown for frolics?

Sugartown is just the right length to reveal its quirky tale of a town that’s eager to preserve its future. The story didn’t need to be strung out for 100 episodes. The feud between the Burr brothers gets complicated with family secrets being disclosed. The comedy isn’t too over the top. It maintains that proper English level of humor which makes the hour long episodes not seem strained. Sugartown has the right blend of tart and sweetness to to be a treat.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer is fine enough to experience the seaside town on the bring of falling into the ocean. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The mix is mainly focused on the dialogue so you won’t have to crank the speakers to hear over the candy machines. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

Sugartown is a properly sweetened comedy miniseries about a struggling town that gets an offer to save itself by slashing out its heart. Can they really take the offer?

Acorn Media presents Sugartown. Directed by: Christine Gernon. Written by: Jodi Reynolds and Sally Dexter. Starring: Shaun Dooley, Tom Ellis and Miranda Raison. Boxset Contents: 3 episodes on 1 DVDs. Released: April 16, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.