YEAR OF THE RABBIT Season 1: A Captivating, Atmospheric, And Witty Comedy

Year of the Rabbit is a Victorian London set sitcom about a group of detectives solving crimes and uncovering deeper truths about their world. The 6 episode series is directed by Ben Taylor and written by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley. The group consists of Detective Inspector Rabbit (Matt Berry), Detective Sergeant Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox), and Sergeant Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma).

Every episode of Year of the Rabbit tells a captivating story surrounding a central plot of a secret society, while also throwing a perfect stream of never-ending humor that never feels out of place.

Murder, Teamwork, and Family

Year of the Rabbit does an exceptional job of establishing a group of detectives that work well together, and you want to see save the day and each other. The more ridiculous any given situation is, the more Rabbit, Strauss, and Mabel come together in ways that feel realistic, familial, and humorous.

Susan Wokoma’s performance as Mabel perfects the depth of the character, who is Britain’s first female police officer. She expertly plays the character’s strength, ambition, and resolve in every moment, as well as her joy at her accomplishments, and those of her teammates that she has grown to love.

YEAR OF THE RABBIT Season 1: Captivating, Atmospheric, and Witty Comedy
source: Channel 4 / IFC

This wonderful team works so well with its mixture of Rabbit’s brash and lewd resident copper with Strauss’s strange and frequently love-sick rookie, and the resilient and hopeful nature of Mabel. Each member brings something unique to their team in terms of the cases they solve as well as the jokes that bind them even further.

One of the moments that stands out to me in regards to the chemistry and familial nature of the team is when they enter a carriage with one other person inside and all three try to arrange themselves on one side, so the team does not get separated. It’s both a great comedic moment and one that shows how well Berry, Wokoma, and Fox play off one another.

Comedy Fills Every Scene

Year of the Rabbit is a very funny show where the jokes never stop, and never feel out-of-place with the action. Like the American crime-solving sitcom Trial & Error, Year of the Rabbit uses every inch of its frame to tell jokes, so no moment goes unappreciated. And like that other sitcom, Rabbit brings together an unexpected team and makes them a family.

Headlines and the unsavory items in the jars of street hawkers add humor to quick moments, so the momentum and comedy never slows down. The humor feels connected to the setting and time period of the show, while also utilizing modern twists on language.

YEAR OF THE RABBIT Season 1: Captivating, Atmospheric, and Witty Comedy
source: Channel 4 / IFC

A quick turn-of-phrase can make even the darkest of scenes moments of pure comedy. Jokes based around features of the time such as the uncleanliness of the city, allure of electricity, and street hawking give Year of the Rabbit a unique tone that captures the 1880s in London.

The series also features a character based on Joseph Merrick/The Elephant Man (David Dawson), which adds humor to the tragic freak shows of this time by depicting him as a man happy to make money from his own freak show, and in a memorable moment, hiding on the street so as not to give it away for free.

Strauss’s frequent love interests create an unlucky-in-love dimension to his already clumsy and at times inappropriate character. Freddie Fox plays Strauss with such innocence and cheerfulness that his comments about the attractiveness of a corpse come across that much funnier.

Matt Berry‘s delivery and moments taking expected language in unexpected ways bring humor to scenes deeply embroiled in the mystery and murder at the show’s center. The expertly placed extension of a syllable make jokes land even better, and at a quicker pace.

Year of the Rabbit’s script perfectly blends its comedy with a deeply connected plot of secret societies, women’s rights, and murder. The series-long plot stays interesting, and never gets in the way of the comedy and character dynamics present in each episode.

Capturing Victorian London

Year of the Rabbit does a wonderful job capturing the setting and time period not only through the plot lines and jokes but also in the cinematography and music.

The beauty of the show captured my attention early on through its use of shadows and light to highlight the dreary darkness of Victorian London. Lighting throughout the series feels real and perfectly highlights the important aspects of every scene.

The darker, blue tones are given more depth by yellow, golden light from smaller sources within the frame. Scenes in sewers, alleys, and graveyards look beautiful and nothing is lost to the darkness, but highlighted in beautiful ways.

YEAR OF THE RABBIT Season 1: Captivating, Atmospheric, and Witty Comedy
source: Channel 4 / IFC

Music plays a welcome and worthy part within Year of the Rabbit from its intro music that puts you in the detective mindset of the show while feeling reminiscent of action films of different eras throughout history all in one short musical sting.

The score throughout the series also captures the detective genre, adding intensity and familiarity to moments where crimes come together in the unique discoveries of Rabbit, Strauss, and Mabel. The music always feels appropriate for the scenes, yet also creates a tone essential and unique to this show.


Year of the Rabbit thrives in its beautiful blending of cinematography, music, and a tight script that all come together to create an experience that you do not want to miss. Matt Berry, Freddie Fox, and Susan Wokoma work wonderfully together and create characters you will want to succeed in all their adventures, even when you might not agree with their methods.

Are you a fan of other work from the stars or creators of Year of the Rabbit? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Year of the Rabbit is streaming on Topic.

Watch Year of the Rabbit

Powered by JustWatch


Does content like this matter to you?

Become a Member and support film journalism. Unlock access to all of Film Inquiry`s great articles. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about cinema – get access to our private members Network, give back to independent filmmakers, and more.

Join now!

Posted by Contributor