Amazon Prime’s algorithm recommended Year of the Rabbit (2019) to me recently, and immediately upon realizing Matt Berry starred in it, of course I had to watch it. A longtime fan of Berry’s work in other offbeat, oddball comedies such as Toast of London, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and of course What We Do in the Shadows (2019-), Rabbit had all the trappings of the irreverent, bawdy, surreal comedy I have come to expect from Berry. That said, it took about an episode or two for me to really get into the show, despite all the things it had going for it. But once I was hooked, I was hooked. Sadly, there is only this one, brief season of six episodes, which sucks, because it had a lot of potential (there are noncommittal sources on the internet that suggest that there might be a second season eventually, but I’m not going to hold my breath).
The show centers around Detective Inspector Eli Rabbit (Berry), a roguish detective for Scotland Yard in gritty 1880s London, and his two unlikely partners — the naive and inexperienced Detective Sergeant Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox), and the shockingly worldly Sergeant Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wakoma), adopted daughter of the Chief Inspector and Britain’s first female police officer.
The trio set forth to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders with the help of the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick (played brilliantly by David Dawson, who devours every scene he’s in). A mysterious wealthy woman, Lydia (played by Keeley Hawes) sits at the center of the mysteries that Rabbit and his crew are attempting to unravel.
It’s madcap, bizarre, and ridiculously enjoyable. The costume content, however, is pretty basic. But given the fact that this was probably a trial season to see if the show had legs, it’s not too surprising. The three principal characters don’t have any costume changes across the six episodes, though Lydia does get a couple of different frocks.
All in all, don’t go into watching this expecting high-brow humor or elaborate costumes. Go into it just to enjoy it for what it is: a nice little nose-thumb at the gritty Victorian murder-mystery show.
Have you seen Year of the Rabbit (2019)? Tell us about it in the comments!