Anyone wondering what Christopher Guest’s been up to since “For Your Consideration” came out in 2006? (Before that came, at three-year intervals, “A Mighty Wind” and “Best in Show,” both gems of the mockumentary genre.) He’s turned up in a few movies (“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”; “The Invention of Lying”), directed the 2007 TV movie “The Thick of It” and . . . well, I don’t know what else he’s been doing, but the good news is that he’s back, with his first TV series. “Family Tree” will debut on HBO Sunday night at 10:30, and it sounds quite promising: Chris O’Dowd stars as Tom Chadwick, a young man who inherits a box of mysterious objects from a great-aunt he’s never met. Intrigued, Tom sets out to to find more family members, and it looks like some of them are played by members of the great Guest mockumentary troupe: Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Ed Begley Jr., Bob Balaban, Jim Piddock, Carrie Aizley. The series also stars British actor Tom Bennett, ventriloquist/actor Nina Conti, Guest himself, and many others. Guest has said in interviews that he made this a TV series rather than a movie because “Tree” made more sense as an open-ended story, as a genealogical search doesn’t necessarily have an end point. “Family Tree,” like Guest’s movies, is entirely improvised by the actors, based on detailed storylines and character backgrounds provided by Guest and Piddock (executive producer/writer).
After watching the trailer, I’m intrigued; any show that has Chris O’Dowd petulantly yelling “I’m twice the height of a leprechaun!” has my attention.