The Dead Poet’s Society is full of brilliant comedy performances, but in my humble opinion, Daniel Colman’s performance in the fourth series is his best. Daniel Colman has a deep knowledge of life and its complex twists and turns. In this particular episode, he played the ghost of an actor who had died of cancer years earlier.
Dan was inspired to write his ghostly hero when he read some ghost stories about an aged actor who appeared to the point of caricature. He made a film version of the same story as a tribute to his friend, who had been very much loved by him. In this episode, Daniel plays the part of the ghost’s ghostwriter. This is the first time that he has played a ghost in a television production, so he is not in top form.
James and Daniel are in many ways as close as possible – as husband and wife. But like all happy couples, there are tensions in their relationship. In one hilarious scene, James allows Daniel to help him out with some research on a car accident. The resulting news report is a hysterical farce, in which Dan attempts to help James laugh at himself.
James responds by trying to get Daniel thrown out of the studio. By the end of the show, James is physically abusing Daniel for doing nothing to help him.
As a family unit, Daniel and James have lost touch with each other over the years. They have grown apart and fell out with everyone else. Perhaps because of this, it has become increasingly difficult for them to have fun together. Fortunately, Daniel is capable of making James laugh even at his worst moments.
In this episode, the dynamic between Daniel and James changes. The writers have created a nice balance between the two characters, and it adds a lot to the show.
Dan and James first meet when Daniel is travelling back from New York, and they immediately make an instant connection. James is so impressed with Daniel’s work, that he asks for his services to star in a new film.
James immediately makes his feelings known and proceeds to humiliate Daniel by asking him to lend him the story for the film, which he then disappears to Ireland to make. Daniel has to ask James why he needs him to be his writer again, but this time he gives him a very moving and revealing explanation.
While Daniel is away, James finds the manuscript and turns it into a news report on which Daniel is interviewed. Of course, the news report is utterly hilarious. The radio reporters are tearing the ghost of his friend apart, in the hope of making a good story.
Then, James appears and tries to attack Daniel again. Daniel has to pull a knife out of his pocket, to protect himself. He tells Daniel he was the one who tried to get him thrown out of the studio.
When Daniel leaves to get coffee, he discovers that James has hidden a letter in the bottom of the laptop. When he finds out who wrote the letter, he goes after him. James had previously tried to kill him, in the radio studio, but Daniel had intervened.
Daniel is thrown out of the studio, but is saved by a pit bull, which follows him. He escapes and meets James, who has become his new hero. It seems that Daniel has had a wonderful time in his own self-induced comedy scene, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.