Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Monday, 25 July 2011

TV Review: The Hour

Ahead of the second episode of The Hour, the series is turning into a missed opportunity

The first episode of The Hour was something of an oddity. At times, it had a really good feel about it. There was a clear story about the evolution of television news and about gender politics in the 1950s which was very interesting, beautifully made and very well-acted.

Romola Garai was better than I have seen from her before, whilst Ben Whishaw was as excellent as ever and made his pretty irritating character, Freddy, watchable. Dominic West, meanwhile, breezed in about 20 minutes in and was Dominic West, which was wonderful. The three led an excellent ensemble cast, who were all impeccably dressed and superbly well shot. It all looked so good.

But running alongside this was a somewhat bizarre murder plot which, by the looks of things, is going to be the heart of the series. This jarred completely with the mature tone of the rest of the show, and smacked of a show which did not have the confidence of its convictions, feeling the need to insert a supposedly “gripping” subplot to keep people watching. I was more than happy to watch those actors do their thing in an intelligent, grown-up show.

Added to this was a total lack of subtlety in the romantic subplots in the show, and the excellence of parts of the show (notably, the parts of the show which have been used to market it) became somewhat diluted. One can only hope that this is not symptomatic. If it is, then there is a sense in which The Hour will have been a missed opportunity.

The Hour continues on BBC Two, Tuesdays, 9pm

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