Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Paradox, BBC One

Hot off the press, here's a review of tonight's Paradox wot I've written for Orange.

We'll always have cops and docs, but a lot of those TV drama box sets we can't resist are "high concept" – series with big ideas like Lost, Fringe and FlashForward. The BBC has given it a go before, with stuff like Life on Mars and Survivors, but unfortunately the first episode of new crime series Paradox has come out a bit soggy.

Paradox stars Tamzin Outhwaite as flinty detective DI Flint – a no-nonsense copper who seems to have too much time on her hands. Tonight, she got her whole team involved when intense(ly annoying) boffin Dr Christian King (Emun Elliott) came across a collection of images that seemed to have come from the future and suggested that Something Very Bad is about to happen.

However, while FlashForward gave us widescreen vistas of devastation across LA and Fringe pinged us into an parallel New York where Leonard Nimoy's got an office in the World Trade Center, tonight's Paradox unfortunately culminated in a chase down a Lancashire B-road to prevent a sleepy driver crashing his lorry into a low bridge.

But even allowing for a tighter budget, the time-scale for the action seemed implausible and a death toll of 73 looked a bit unlikely from the explosion we saw. Meanwhile, the dialogue included razor-sharp zingers like "Find the nearest manned signal box with a land line and ring them!" You can't exactly hear that bursting out of Jack Bauer's mouth, can you?

The concept promised us something new and shiny, but the delivery was as humdrum as Doctors or Casualty (and that isn't a dig at those popular shows). In fact, this could almost be relabelled as Holby Time Cops, if it wasn't already set in Manchester (or some strange alternative version of the city devoid of Mancunians).

I feel bad dumping on this, as it's exactly the sort of thing I've always enjoyed. The idea's obviously intriguing, but it's executed at such a pedestrian pace that it looks like a very poor relative of the US shows it'll inevitably be compared with.


Anonymous said...

Yep, pretty much how I felt.
Holby Time Cops Brilliant!

purpleivan said...
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purpleivan said...
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Ivan said...

Cheaply made, very poor characters (did any of the detectives seem like one to you), by the numbers dialogue and of course the irritating, arrogant scientist who seem to make a point of putting the backs up of just those who he needed to gain the trust of.

One of the worst parts was the amazingly predictable closing shots of the scientist leaving the building as the screens in his office burst into live downloading the images (plot) for the next episode.

To top it all I was musing at this point how long it would be before they had an image of one of the team appear in the data burst from the future and the writers couldn't even wait beyond the first episode to pull out that card.

Nice enough idea overall, to have a "Deja Vu" style crime to solve each week, but so very poorly implemented here.