| Alluring world-building but lacks nuance at times...
The most captivating part of this series is the world-building. Right from the beginning, the music, costumes and architecture all were screaming that this is a different London to the one we know. These ranged from macro-level political differences, right down to micro-level quirks, such as the colour of a plaster, the weapon of choice for the police, or the styles of hair. These differences culminate in a cohesive backdrop in which the potential for dramatic tension and unrest is massive. In that sense, the production designer(s) have provided us with a welcome entry to to one of the biggest themes; how the power of a ruling class dictates culture.
Jack Rowan as Callum is fantastic. The soft-spoken and gentle nature that he brings makes it impossible not to empathise with his character. This must have been particularly challenging since this show asks the audience not only to suspend their disbelief, but to also completely reverse any external associations of race. We have to believe that white people are oppressed in this world, and the show does this through Callum. Rather than through grandiose displays of racism (i.e. no interracial marriages, no mixed schools), I find myself more sympathetic to Rowan's soulful stare in the opening moments of the show or when he is serving drinks to Sephy. Great acting and I'm excited to see where he goes
The romance is generally well conceived if perhaps a little rushed at the start. Some eye-roll inducing tropes arose but for the most part was fairly original and the main constant of the show
My biggest issue was with Jude, the brother. He seemed like an incredibly flat character. Even when placed in dilemmas that would typically lead to character growth or development of some sort, he merely continued on doing what he was always doing. By the end of the show, he was still the same, angry character that was introduced in episode 1. Why is he so angry? Who knows...
My next biggest concern was that I dont think the show ever really knows what tone to have. Is this a gritty dystopia? Or is it a romance? I dont think these genres are necessarily mutually exclusive, but i think that the show attempts to juggle these different tones which leaves one questioning the motives of the characters or the intensity of this universe. If this was a show first and foremost about displaying how the race of the ruling class permeates across society or the irrationality of racism, with a side of romance, i think this may have been more narratively interesting . Instead, we are given these strange moral epiphanies that Sephy gains from Callum that just come off as too on-the-nose
The actress who plays Sephy. She was okay for the most part, but at times I feel like she was a bit wooden? I'm surprised that some of the takes for her were used in the final show. Some of her deliveries were so stale and emotionless, which was quite jarring at times. I'm unsure if this is the fault of the director or actor