Call My Agent! (3 stars)

Call My Agent!

Hugely enjoyable French comedy-drama about an actors' agency departs with a slightly underwhelming demi-flourish

After three seasons of fun-filled celeb backstabbing and showbiz joie de vivre, Call My Agent!'s fourth and final set exited with a soupçon-like whimper. A bit like the sound that Jean Gabin, Arlette's pooch, would make if it was fearfully backing away from a hungry staffie. Set in actors' agency ASK (aka the Samuel Kerr Agency, named after the leader who died at the very beginning to trigger the internal squabbling and jockeying for position that ensued ever since), addicts of this sleeper hit got to know various agents such as the highly ambitious Andréa (Camille Cottin who fronted the French version of Fleabag), the too nice Gabriel (Grégory Montel), the charming but amoral Mathias (Thibault de Montalembert) and his initially secret daughter Camille (Fanny Sidney) who started as a stepped-upon assistant before rising through the ranks.

Viewers came for the Gallic flair and glamorous infighting, but very much stayed for the real-life actors who were either surgically attached to the fictional ASK or open to a gentle seduction by a rival firm. While some names would have been familiar only to a French crowd, the global likes of Béatrice Dalle, Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert were all up for a laugh, often playing against their public image though never in quite so outlandish a manner as the stars displayed in Extras.

In this last collection of six episodes, it became clear that Call My Agent! had run its course, casually retreading previous themes while trying to find new ways of making the stars look silly or gauche. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jean Reno and Sigourney Weaver were this last hurrah's A-listers, but the script fed them storylines that were merely fainter versions of the show's past glory. Sure, there were dramatic foils like illness and death, betrayals and reconciliations, but it all felt slightly underpowered, only lifted at the end with a note of sadness, a semi-improvised gathering of the gang, and a neat meta gag. In the end, Call My Agent! was a four-star show that bowed out with a three-star series, but when it soared, it did so with an almighty and very Parisian flourish.

Netflix from Thursday 21 January.

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