'Derek' Season 2 review: Can Ricky Gervais match quality of Season 1?

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The second season of "Derek," which premieres Friday (May 23) on Netflix, brings a lot of what made Season 1 so special. Its combination of offbeat humor mixed with a dash of heartbreak isn't something you see in many shows. Is it as compelling the second time around, though?

The answer is both yes and no. There are some very entertaining moments in the new season, including Derek being introduced to Twitter and Internet dating. Season 2 also brings great character development in some instances. Derek reconnecting with his estranged father, who is moving into the nursing home, is a true highlight. There's also the journey of Tom and Hannah, who decide it's time to try for a baby.

Watching these characters grow up emotionally is rewarding. Some of them have come a very long way since the 2012 pilot. As for those that aren't maturing, like Kev, there are at least still moments to shine.

Of course, the new season isn't perfect, and those flaws are put on display. For one, the "mockumentary" format employed feels well-worn by now. Series creator Ricky Gervais was captain of the ship that brought it to the forefront of TV with "The Office," so it's oddly fitting that he's there during the inevitable fall.

The novelty of peeking in at the lives of Derek and his co-workers also doesn't hold quite the interest it once did. While seeing the important and funny moments is one thing, some of the episodes drag on with the mundane times everyone experiences at work. It might be aiming for realism by portraying those moments, but it feels like time wasted for the most part.

"Derek" Season 2 isn't a bad show, it just suffers from not being as strong as Season 1. That all said, if you're invested in the characters, the new set of episodes will deliver what you're looking for and throw in some good laughs. 
Photo/Video credit: Netflix