Sevigny is mesmerising as Mia, and does a good job with a mild "Irish traveller" accent (although opinions always vary when it comes to how well foreign actors cope with British dialects). All I know is this: I wasn't reminded of Sevigny's American heritage at any point, and her understated performance was one to savour. Mia's clearly a broken person (more through her choice of occupation than conflicts over her impending sex change), but she senses the possibility that this underprivileged family will make her feel whole. By virtue of her slightly androgynous appearance, Sevigny also makes for a good choice playing a man-becoming-a-woman, and the show itself handled that aspect of the premise with skill. There's an early sequence where Mia strips naked to have a shower, you see her penis (a prosthetic that won't give Dirk Diggler sleepless nights), but it's all handled very tastefully. I've heard it said that Hit & Miss should have cast a genuine transgender actor, or maybe someone more obviously a "man in makeup", but I don't think it's a particular concern. They were probably concerned the show would be misconstrued if Mia resembled a man in drag, too. If Sevigny was the best person for the role, then that's all that matters.
Overall, Hit & Miss is off to a great start, despite the simplistic storyline that didn't offer too many big surprises. But now Mia's literally brought light into her family's lives (by reconnecting the farm's electric using money stolen from a rich man whose throat she slashed open), I'm intrigued to see where the story will go from here. Will Mia's shadowy past catch up with her, as she struggles to balance the demands of this new family with the ugly job she's paid to do by gangsters? Does she even want to leave that life behind just yet? What will happen if, or rather when, her kids discover what she does for a living? Is there a chance Mia's presence on the farm will do more harm than good? (I got a slightly uncomfortable feeling when she made Ryan punch his bully to the floor, but maybe that's just me being soft.)
Like all good dramas, I'm already asking questions and will be awaiting the answers and unseen complications from the weeks ahead. On the evidence of this confident and composed premiere, Sky Atlantic's long-awaited drama is more hit than miss.
- I loved the retro feel of the show, which came through mainly because the family can't afford many mod cons. Their farm wouldn't have looked out of place in the '40s or '50s. The lack of internet was particularly apparent: Riley was seen flirting with a boys over a CB radio (how '70s), while Ryan was introduced to pornography through an old-fashioned dirty magazine.
- This episode was directed by Hettie Macdonald, who helmed the fantastic and very popular Doctor Who episode "Blink", together with Wallander, The Fixer and many others.
- I know what you're thinking: how do you pronounce Chloë Sevigny's surname? Well, it's "sevenyay".
- How appropriate that Mia's an anagram of "aim".