I watched the new BBC noir-ish drama Blackout last night which came highly recommended by the Guardian TV guide (a “corking opener it declared). I have to admit, I went into this with reservations. The last two new dramas I’ve watched on the BBC, True Love and Line of Duty haven’t exactly lived up to the hype. I thought True Love was predictable nonsense and Line of Duty was… OK… it’s the usual case of just not being able to make TV as innovative and exciting as the Americans at the moment.
Blackout looked like it was going to have a crack, with a good cast and big scenery: an almost Gotham style city-scape, though it was hard to actually believe this was anywhere in the quaint old UK, apart from the fact that it was raining substantially.
So anyway, to summarise: Christopher Eccleston is playing a city councilor who likes booze and whores, Dervla Kirwan is his long-suffering missus. Eccleston goes out, gets drunk, shags a whore, then possibly beats up a local supplier of services to the council (admittedly a pretty nasty one) and leaves him in a coma, but he’s too drunk to remember if he actually did or not. He wakes up with that bad old feeling that he did something stupid last night, with a bloodied hand to boot. It’s the same idea as The Hangover, but it’s not going for the laughs. Eccleston has total meltdown and then accidentally gets shot whilst trying to save a witness in a drugs trial from being assassinated. He lives, and realises he must turn his life around, but he still has that sneaking suspicion that he did something stupid when he was drunk. But now he is being touted as a hero and encouraged to run for mayor, which is IRONIC because he might have murdered someone, see what they are doing there?
There were several things I thought were absolutely ridiculous about this opening episode:
- The morning after the night before. The wife starts having a go at Eccleston, reading off things she’s printed from the internet about ‘blackouts’, talking like it’s some really strange phenomenon that only hardcore alcoholics experience.
Sorry? But don’t at least 50% of people experience some kind of memory loss when they are very drunk? Why would you look this up on the internet? This seemed a pretty convenient and lazy way of telling us that Eccleston couldn’t remember what had happened. I’m sure they could have found a more creative way of showing this. A tiger in the bathroom maybe?
- How much time is actually passing in this show?
Eccleston gets shot in the upper chest, yet is seemingly walking around the hospital within hours, and out and about, running for mayor, within days…but…
- … What the hell are the police doing?
Surely they would have discovered that the slain council supplier was erm, pitching services to the council. So wouldn’t they come to interview key people like Eccleston as a matter of course? But there is no interaction whatsoever… in fact the police are barely in this opening episode. Fair enough, if we’re looking at the whole thing through the eyes of the criminal, but I get the impression they are going to feature quite a lot later on, so a bit more screen time in the opening episode would have been good.
- Eccleston’s son has been expelled from school, but he only discovers this when he finds the kid at home when he should be at school.
WTF? This guy is a city councilor… wouldn’t the local press find it interesting that his son has been expelled from school? Wouldn’t the school phone the parents and tell them
- When he’s fully recovered from being shot, he has a flashback from the drunken night out and remembers throwing some papers (presumably council tender documents) on the ground near the scene of the attack… so he goes back to look for them.
Now, surely, the police would have combed the crime scene by now? By the time it’s taken him to recover from a gunshot wound? And is it really an idea to go back to the crime scene?
- Is it me, or where there a lot of mumbling, indecipherable accents in this first episode?
I can’t say I am gripped…