Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Time for a change, I think. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had people who follow this Blog whispering to me that, despite enjoying the abuse and absolute scorn I pour on deserving TV Shows, they would love to hear me be less negative and derogatory about something for once. Now, in the past, I’ve always stood by the fact that writing about something I truly hate is much more fun than writing about something I love. But you’re right. I wouldn’t be writing this Blog if I hated all Television, would I? I love TV. There are so many TV Shows I love and adore. So it’s high time I raved about something instead of ranting. Just for once. So, here we are. But before we begin, just a word of warning: if this Blog sucks, and is the most boring piece of filth you’ve ever read, then it’s all your fault!!!! No pressure then, folks!!
Crime Dramas are ten a penny over here in the United Kingdom. Honestly, there’s so many of them on the box, clogging up the TV Listings like a Big Mac clogging up some poor overly obese man’s innards!! And, whilst each new Cop drama claims to be original and different compared to its millions of predecessors, in all honesty, it’s all a pack of lies. For every fantastically original and entertaining Jonathan Creek or Life on Mars, we get a sack full of typical, boring bollocks like Blue Murder or The Inspector Lynely Mysteries.
The whole of ITV, up till now, has stuffed it’s schedules with murder dramas, so many, in fact, that I’m half convinced that every high ranking executive working at ITV spend their evenings stalking the streets of London, stabbing, slashing and hacking every hooker and drunken idiot they can find. Blimey, there’s a brilliant Reality Show Concept right there. Celebrity Serial Killer anyone?! Hell, that’s one reality Show I’d definitely tune in for, even if it is just to see Katie Price knee deep in some poor bastards intestines, as she attempts to stop them screaming for help, whilst at the same time trying to make sure she doesn’t break a nail......ok, too far. But you gotta admit the concept is insanely genius!!
So ITV continues to shove grubby crime dramas with blood, gore, murder, crime and unconvincing detectives in our faces. But if by letting them do so means they continue to broadcast the only exception to the above, the excellent Law & Order: UK (ITV1), then hell, I’m prepared to put up with anything, even them throwing eggs and dead puppies at my window. It’s that good!!!
For those not in the know, Law & Order: UK is a British remake of the long-running US Crime Drama, produced by both the original series creator Dick Wolf, and former Torchwood Showrunner & Writer Chris Chibnall. The Format is simple: each Episode is stand-alone, and follows a criminal investigation from the beginning to the end, from the police investigation all the way to the trial. By the Episode’s end, every loose end has been tied up, one way or another, so by the following week; everything is shiny and brand new. A strong concept that, whilst sounding initially hollow and un-intriguing, instead allows for fantastic drama and brilliant, fast-paced storylines.
But let’s not get caught up with all that, the thing that makes this show so brilliant is the fantastic Cast, both the regulars and the guest characters. Bradley Walsh & Jamie Bamber star as the two main detectives, Ronnie Brooks and Matt Devlin, who are quite possibly the best Cop double act since Morse & Lewis. Walsh, in particular, is the most deserving of praise, bringing great humour, warmth and status to the role of Brooks, and in the process, pretty much beating his critics to death with his undervalued acting abilities. Likewise, Battlestar Galactica regular Bamber is fantastic as Devlin, and the two bounce off one another brilliantly!! The same is true of both Freema Agyeman and Ben Daniels as Crown Prosecutors James Steel & Alesha Phillips, whose chemistry on screen is explosive. Both actors bring a great sense of passion and determination to their roles, which greatly adds to the various Court Scenes, that could have become stale and sleep inducing by Episode 2, had they not been performed in such a striking and powerful way by all the Actors involved. The various guest roles are all equally well served, by both the scripts and the actors, and no one gives a duff performance.
Out of the 13 Episodes of Series One (split into two individual series over here, by the space of a Year), it’s hard to find a dead turkey amongst the chickens. The series opener, Care, is brilliant, full stop!!! Watch this Episode, and you will be unable to leave your TV alone until you’ve devoured the remainder of the Series. Top picks elsewhere include: Unloved (a great and fascinating look at young offenders), Alesha (Freema Agyeman’s finest hour), Samaritan (controversial stuff), Hidden (without spoiling it, a well paced storyline that many will connect to a recent major real-life incident), and Sacrifice (a great Episode for series regular Bill Paterson). And there is still 1 more Episode left to go, which, if anything like the rest of the Series, will be beyond fantastic.
I cannot recommend this Show enough: it’s edgy, it’s beautifully written, shot and performed, the music score is gorgeous, it doesn’t shy away from controversial storylines, and best of all it doesn’t get caught up in focusing on the Cops & Lawyers personal lives!! It’s all about the Case!! There’s no other British Show like it, and for that, it makes me want to stand up and salute!!! Yes, it even makes a cynical git like me turn into a patriot!!!
Law & Order: UK? The jury have reached a verdict...Guilty... of being absolutely bloody brilliant!!! I salute you, sir!!!