TV Review: Derry Girls (Season 2)

It’s the show that’s on its way to becoming a cult classic.

If you live in the UK, and like to keep updated with the latest shows, you can’t possibly have not heard of Derry Girls. Series 1 was a roaring success, and was released worldwide on Netflix. And deservingly so. I only found the show back in January, but I binged the whole lot in a twelve hour spell, where the rest of my time was spent asleep.

One may wonder why a comedy about a group of teenagers growing up in 1990s Northern Ireland is so successful; indeed, when I heard about the show, my instinct was closer to “how is this going to be funny?” than anything else. But I have been pleased to have been proven wrong. Politically relevant, outrageously funny and with wonderful character development, it is no surprise that the launch of Series 2 became the most watched episode of a comedy on Channel 4 since 2007.

None of this would have been possible without the wonderful talent of writer and creator Lisa McGee, who clearly takes great care over every single word uttered, every single second on screen. Props also to the wonderful cast bringing it to life: a cast list is at the bottom of this article.

Like most successful comedy, people can relate to the characters. More so, it appears that many in Northern Ireland can relate to the setting as well- 1990s nostalgia, the efforts to finally get peace and the day to day problems which are naturally hilarious in nature. Although not being myself from NI, the show is well received there. Derry Girls has also inspired people to research the history of the ‘Troubles’ — and, perhaps more so now than ever in 2019, facts and information is one of the most crucial things to possess. It must also be said, that its rare that any show gives me shivers at the end of an episode: three times this has happened in series 2.

But this is not just a historical comedy. It’s main cast (with many supporting characters) are all noticeable characters who you just want to see have a better life for themselves. Michelle, that friend who loves breaking rules for fun. Claire, the friend who hates breaking them, but is slowly becoming more rebellious. Erin, the voice of reason. Orla, the weird friend (me) who is on a complete different spiritual level to the rest of the world, but everyone loves and embraces nevertheless. And James, “the wee English fella”, who is the one that doesn’t fit in (in this case, being a boy in an all girls school), but who is made to feel as part of the group by his adopted friends and family. Special shoutout to Sister Michael, who is simply hilarious, as the nun who can’t stand religion.

The entire series is brilliant, and I would insist on watching all twelve episodes immediately. I was so happy when it was renewed for a third season soon after the final credits. More information is at the bottom of the article. Some series 2 highlights, though: find out the reason why Sister Michael became a nun; the guest appearance of Death In Paradise star Ardal O’Hanlon in episode 4 (one which puts the ‘fun’ in ‘funeral’); and THAT moment between James and Erin. You’ll know it when you see it, and I love it. 😍😍😍

As Michelle stated in last night’s series 2 finale,

It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are. Being a Derry Girl is a state of mind.

Series 1 and 2 can be found on All4 (UK & Ireland). Series 1 can be found on Netflix for international viewers, I’m not certain about series 2 but it’s worth a look. Straight after the season finale, Channel 4 announced that Derry Girls would be returning for series 3. This will likely be in 2020.

Cast list:

Saoirse-Monica Jackson - Erin Quinn
Nicola Coughlan- Clare Devlin
Louisa Harland – Orla McCool
Jamie-Lee O’Donnell – Michelle Mallon
Dylan Llewellyn – James Maguire
Tara Lynne O’Neill – Ma Mary
Kathy Kiera Clarke – Aunt Sarah
Siobhan McSweeney – Sister Michael
Tommy Tiernan – Da Gerry
Ian McElhinney - Granda Joe
Anthony Boyle - David Donnelly
Leah O’Rourke - Jenny Joyce
David Ireland – Sean Devlin

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