30 April 2014 | JasmineFIowers
Fails to hit the right notes
There must be a reason why the podcast and subsequent book is so beloved by Canadians, because this series must seriously be selling short that vision.
The book was written by someone involved in politics, who lived and breathed it. But whoever wrote these scripts was certainly not the author, as the whole nuance of the work is missing something.
McClintock, who was formerly married to a well-known feminist, with a passion for water quality, would not be a man to be trifled with. He seems reduced to a warm and fuzzy eccentric engineer. Parkinson, who ran five times against a man with a 90% approval rating and with a passion for the individuals effect on the political process, seems to be dulled by her association with the nursing home. While it is implied both of these characters are bitey, as one would expect, neither really delivers anything particularly incisive or sharp. However, Raoul Bhaneja needs to be given credit here as the standout, as Chief of Staff Stanton, he injects energy, direction and insight that seems lacking from the other characters in the series (possibly down to mediocre direction).
And while the script has its moments and political insights, like the ridiculous way polling is analysed, the show doesn't seem to make up its mind whether to cruise in under the radar with the subtleties of Yes Minister, or hit viewers over the head like Thick of It or VEEP. Rather, it decides to do neither for the most part and feels more like a weekly soap opera that could be slotted into one of many genres...hospital, police, etc etc. Which if it were a 24-episode season program would be fine, but miniseries require fast character definition and a sharp script; this show has neither.
It really is a huge shame for Canadians that this celebrated book wasn't done better, it must be well loved for a reason, and Canada seems to lack TV dramatic works focused around politics.