18 July 2019 | jazfro
a step in the right direction
Australian commercial channels have a history of producing cheap, clickbaiting, police dramas, or worse: bad imitations (see the recent botched re-boots of Ms Fisher and Dr Blake). So I was curious about this one.
As it happens, the first episode was watchable, and in parts enjoyable. The set-up for the series is based on a well-known formula: retired cop (for reasons undisclosed -this is presumably a red herring backstory that will be revealed one detail per episode) gets out of retirement because a former colleague needs help to close a case worthy of investigation. Said ex-cop accepts the assignment and gets paired with IT whizz sidekick with a personality twist or two (this one has a thing about car detailing and high-end vacuum cleaners). So far, it's standard cop drama / PI fare, and we've seen quite a few variations of this recipe over the years.
What makes the series watchable is the acting lead, kiwi star Lucy Lawless (perhaps best known for her role as Xena) who delivers a good performance. The script for the first episode had the merit of not being totally obvious from the first five minutes, so keeping the viewer engaged. And the portrayal of the lead female character was engaging.
But there are some flaws that need to be addressed. I'll skip over the McGyveresque level of unbelievability of the aforementioned whizz kid's online search prowess. More seriously, in this day and age, unless you are trying to wink-wink / nudge-nudge Amazon for international distribution, one should seriously consider naming the female lead character something other than "Alexa". I felt that was either cheap, low, unfair, or all of the above.
Also, don't create a sub-plot about European appliances with an unreadable instruction manual, and then force the lead actor to deliver an articulate (scripted) phone conversation in the said language (German): if Alexa can have this level of interaction, then she could cope with the foreign language manual, couldn't she? (coz google translate would not be able to speak German that good, would it?).
Overall a good first effort, but needs smarter/stronger scripts to rise to the level of Australian classics (Ms Fisher, Dr Blake, Rake, Janet King, Jack Irish, Mystery Road, and so on).