David Hare’s state-of-the-nation drama Collateral came to an end last night and didn’t quite answer the important questions. Will John Simm’s David ever have a believable conversation? And how did Kip find the time to be a champion pole vaulter, a teacher and a high-ranking police officer by the age of 30?
There is one bigger question, however, that is even less likely to be answered: what’s wrong with British TV drama this year? As 2018 loomed into view, I was excited about the slate: McMafia, Britannia, Hard Sun, Collateral, Trauma, Kiri, Next of Kin and Troy: Fall of a City. Yet, apart from Kiri, which delivered a taut tale of adoption and abduction, those shows have to some degree disappointed.Trauma
Some, such as Britannia, failed honourably (at least it takes big swings, even if they don’t always connect), others such as Troy were doomed by a combination of poor casting decisions and a wonky script. Next of Kin and Trauma both started strongly before taking unfortunate turns down infuriating plot paths that were implausible and predictable. Meanwhile, Hard Sun was all style and no substance, and less said about Jim Sturgess’s cockernee accent the better.
Then there’s McMafia. The chief complaint about BBC One’s thriller was one of pace, with many detractors complaining that much of the series unfolded at a pace that made it hard to care about the story of Alex Godman. Yet, if taking your time to tell a story was a crime, then we would never have fallen in love with dramas such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I Claudius, The Wire or Mad Men.
McMafia’s main problem was one that is increasingly affecting programmes in the streaming era: its creators were so desperate to create a global drama that could play anywhere in the world they forgot to create credible characters we might enjoy watching. Similarly, in Collateral, David Hare is so busy telling us about the state of our nation he has forgotten to make his characters more than mouthpieces for the points he wants to make.
These are dramas that almost feel as though someone said: let’s make the new Sopranos, the new Game of Thrones, the new State of Play, but forgot it’s the characters and fully realised world that makes those series work, rather than the concept – however high it may be.
Even Britannia, which at least tries something a little bit different in tone and in conception, fails largely because you neither care about, nor believe in, the characters (with the notable exception of Cait and perhaps Divis). By contrast the similarly outre Taboo got away with its more ludicrous moments because the supporting characters from Jessie Buckley’s Lorna Bow to Tom Hollander’s Dr Cholmondeley were not ciphers but fully realised characters with backstories of their own.© Sky Britannia
Look, too, at this year’s comedies. Derry Girls was a success because of its warmth and wit certainly, but also because of a sense of place. It didn’t need to sand away its edges to appeal to a wider audience, but said unapologetically: this is who we are. Similarly, the lovely Mum, with its second series on BBC Two, works because its story is both specific and universal. Its writer, Stefan Golaszewski, catches the small details – the way Lesley Manville’s Cathy quietly picks up the cups Lisa McGrillis’s Kelly leaves precariously balanced around the house – and in doing so makes his characters less stereotypes to laugh at and more rounded human beings who we wince with as well as at.
Attention to detail is what raises Daisy May and Charlie Cooper’s This Country out of the ordinary and gives The Young Offenders its rough-edged charm. It’s what makes Lovesick such a joy to watch on Netflix and made Inside No 9 the best thing to have aired this year. In all these shows, we care about the characters even as we laugh at them. We root for them even when they are being irritating. We believe in them even when what comes out of their mouths sounds daft – of how many of this year’s much-hyped new dramas can be said the same?© BBC/Sophie Mutevelian Inside No. 9
It’s not all doom and gloom. Requiem, despite some patchy moments, built to a satisfying and unsettling conclusion while the Lennie James-scripted Save Me on Sky Atlantic is everything Collateral isn’t: a believable crime drama set in a world where people speak like human beings. Later in the year, Jez Mercurio returns with The Bodyguard, Mike Bartlett with Press and Abi Morgan with a new legal series, The Split. There are intriguing-sounding adaptations from the BBC’s take on China Miéville’s The City and the City, while Channel 4 gives us Bryan “Skins” Elsley’s version of Lottie Moggach’s well-reviewed debut novel about life online, Kiss Me First. Let’s hope that some of these, at least, will live up to the promise.
Gallery: The best-reviewed TV shows of every year from 1995-2018 (Provider: Digital Spy)The best-reviewed TV shows of every year from 1995-2018
Source : http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/msn/from-mcmafia-to-collateral-why-is-so-much-british-drama-falling-short/ar-BBJVibP1673