Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sirens (C4): dead on arrival

While I'm at it, I suppose I should start putting up a few of my more relevant TV reviews for Orange, so here's Sirens from last week. 

After (relative) successes like Teachers and No Angels, Sirens is the latest Channel 4 comedy drama to point the spotlight on people with important jobs who may not always be as professional as we'd hope. However, this tale of cheeky paramedics was pretty much dead on arrival. 

In last night's opener, we met Stuart (Rhys Thomas), Ashley (Richard Maddon) and Rachid (Kayvan Novak), the charmless crew of an ambulance cruising the mean streets of West Yorkshire.

After they dealt with a grisly car crash, we followed them as they tried to handle the "high, horny, low" post-traumatic emotional ride. We focused particularly on Stuart, who was determined to prove he could over-ride his natural emotional responses.

Put like that, it sounded quite promising. However, the show's big problem was that it failed as either comedy or drama. There were few chuckles from the lads' laboured antics, which weren't helped by some very awkward acting, especially from Rhys Thomas.

Neither was it very gripping: it was impossible to invest in any of the people on screen, and it didn't offer the kind of eye-opening insights into the medical world that, for instance, Cardiac Arrest did on the BBC a few years ago.

Worst of all, the show's "insight" into women in general and sexual relations in particular seemed to have been beamed in directly from the brain of a 12-year-old boy.

A ball-busting menopausal boss who wants to hinder their fun? Check. A tiresome touchy-feely counsellor who keeps wanting to talk about feelings an' that? Check. A painful scene with an improbably foxy meter-reader? Check.

There are obviously enough high stakes, human drama and unpredictability in the old paramedicking to fuel a decent TV drama. Sadly, Sirens isn't that show. 

In fact, it's left me counting the seconds until Nurse Jackie reappears, to see how this sort of thing should really be done.

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