American TV critics have given a warm, but qualified, welcome to Ricky Gervais’s Extras.
The comedy makes its debut on the upmarket HBO network tonight, as part of a double bill with Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm.
But other previewers felt the topic of desperate showbiz hopefuls had already been covered.
And, of course, it struggled to shrug off the expectations of The Office.
The Boston Herald said: ‘It's not The Office, Extras features the same bracing, politically incorrect humour…. The Office' was excruciating and excruciatingly funny because anyone could relate to the characters. It's much harder to relate to struggling actors brushing against the famous.’
Similarly, the Los Angeles Daily News concluded Extras was ‘often hilarious, though the showbiz milieu has become awfully familiar’.
But the worst review was from Florida’s St Petersburg Times.Although it Extras ‘Curb Your British Enthusiasm’, the paper went on to say: ‘It's supposed to be droll and clever and "he did not just say that," but really, it's been done: lots of awkward pauses, lots of self-important people saying inappropriate things… it’s not enough to carry a painfully self-aware show.’