Equip your enchanted armour, the gags in this sitcom may cause some damage. That’s right, E4’s hilarious gaming comedy Dead Pixels is back for a second season this week – and it’s filled with even more laughs than the first.
Set between a flatshare of 20-something professionals and the fictional world of video game Kingdom Scrolls, the show is written and created by BAFTA winner Jon Brown, known for HBO drama Succession and fresher serial Fresh Meat. A massive gamer himself, Brown has used all his nerd knowhow to spin six more thought-provoking, funny episodes from his loot box of wacky ideas.
We caught up with the show’s main cast – Alexa Davies (Raised By Wolves), who plays Meg, and Will Merrick (Skins), who plays Nicky – to hear about the show’s unmissable return. Here’s everything fans (and newcomers) need to know…
The characters are enjoyably awful
Alan Partridge, Mark and Jez, the Always Sunny gang; it’s fair to say that all the very best comedy characters are absolutely terrible human beings. The same can be said for Dead Pixels’ Meg and Nicky, who are selfish, rude and endlessly fun to watch.
“To steal a term I heard Will Ferrell say in an interview,” begins Davies, “he talks about how a lot of his characters have misplaced confidence. That is exactly what Meg has, in that she might be saying a complete mistruth, but she believes it so much.”
“They have a strong track record of selfishness,” adds Merrick. “Both of them are really focused on their own self interest. They regularly forget about tough, emotional things going on in their flatmate Allison’s life.”
If you like Peep Show, you’ll love Dead Pixels
Dead Pixels is executive produced by Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong. “I think there’s a similarity in that the characters are outsiders and we are very much bound to them as an audience. We’re seeing everything from their perspective,” says Davies. “They’re a bit weird, but you’re getting full disclosure into that all the time, so nothing’s being withheld.”
“The enjoyment of Peep Show comes from seeing them doing everyday, quite monotonous, stupid shit. I think it’s the same setup in Dead Pixels – the characters aren’t rushing into wildly far-fetched situations, it’s just day to day stuff,” agrees Merrick. “The script is really acrobatic in a similar way to Peep Show too.”
Gamers will be satisfied
Dead Pixels is stuffed with gags and plot points aimed at hardcore gamers. Ever had your fave franchise invaded by newbies? Meg and Nicky feel your pain. “Meg calls them the Fortnite generation,” says Merrick. “They don’t love Kingdom Scrolls… it’s like they’re mocking the game by finding glitches, bugging out on them and not playing the game properly. Meg gets really upset about that.”
“I love that these two people are so enamoured by the fact that the game will be 500 hours long,” adds Davies. “It’s such a funny thing. Whenever you get a game now, you talk about how many hours it is. It’s such a weird thing to get excited about.”
Season two is more of the same
Like, absolutely nothing. The series picks up eight months after the ending of season one, and all the characters have done in the interim is wait for the Kingdom Scrolls expansion pack to be released, which was announced when we last saw them.
“At the start of episode one, the expansion pack is finally here, and it feels like Meg and Nicky have just stayed in their rooms for the last eight months, waiting,” explains Alexa Davies, “They have barely changed.”
More episodes are in the works
“I can’t think of anything I’d rather do,” Merrick says, on whether they’d be up for a third season of the show. “I feel chuffed to be on such a brilliantly made show. People seemed to love it the first time round so I’m really hoping that happens again.”
“I’m ready for Meg to spend some time focusing on herself, because there’s always been a romantic tie for her in both series…” says Davies. “I would really be interested in having a female director, just to see what the change would be, because Meg has this typically masculine energy about her”
“I’d like to see Nicky approaching 30. He’s going to have an absolute meltdown,” says Merrick. “I had a meltdown when I was 25. I’m actually embarrassed by it now. I think Nicky would do a similar thing but on a much larger, more destructive scale.”
Dead Pixels season 2 premieres as a two-episode double bill tonight at 10pm on E4, with the full series available to watch as a boxset on All 4 straight after