Having recently scored at the top of the ‘must watch’ charts of Australian talent, it leaves comedians Hamish and Andy in an interesting position of power. Channel Nine reportedly paid $17 million to poach the duo from Channel Ten, and judging by the results of their new show, gave them a fair bit of creative license to ‘work their magic’.

Welcome to Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year – a ten-episode stint in which they go to America, sit on an echoey factory-turned-stage in New York, and deliver to Australian viewers a watered-down version of Rove.

Hamish and Andy began the show with a long, rambling introduction that if anything, shows that they’re more suited to radio. As the episode progressed it was clear that the highlights lay in the pre-recorded segment of noodling for catfish, which was over all too soon – it very much harkened back to their previous, very popular programs.

Clearly eager to start things off with a bang, the exciting guests for their first episode were… Taylor Swift, and Neil Patrick Harris promoting his upcoming paycheck in the Smurfs movie. Strange choices to go with on the first interview, given they’re not scheduled for a 5pm timeslot.

Much of the show was plagued with dumb humour, and the interviews weren’t particularly enthralling. I can’t recall much being asked of Taylor Swift, and Neil Patrick Harris was asked about who Smurfette is doing, and whether co-star Hank Azaria did any Simpsons voices on request, before being put in a hat and lamely pushed into pretending to be Neil Patrick Harrison Ford and reenact Raiders of the Lost Ark. The guy went along with it, but deserves much better than that.

The duo were much more interested in talking to each other than their guests, and I suppose that’s what this show is – a bit of an ego indulgence. They’re showing us home movies from their holiday, staging a prank or two, and having guests who could have been both chosen and interviewed better.

I’m going to ‘borrow’ a line from terrific guy David Knox over at TV Tonight here, as he nails it on the head:

‘Just as Flight of the Conchords did with New Zealanders, the show works best when it gives us an Australian perspective of America, where everything is big, bizarre and driven by celebrity. The country is often accused of lacking irony and these boys are well-placed to bring some to the table.’

Will the show do well? Probably, for a while, even if it’s just because of Hamish and Andy. They have great chemistry with each other, and a wide fan base to support them. Their pre-recorded gags worked to some extent, but as they’re aiming for a style closer to a late night show, there’s definitely something lacking.

Might have acted too soon by getting the timeslot tattoo, Hamish…

Update: Ratings are in, with 1.45 million tuning in to watch the first episode. Great numbers, as many expected. Hype will do that though.

Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year airs on Channel 9,  Thursday nights at 8:30pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kVo7I27kho[/youtube]