Thursday, 14 June 2012

HIT & MISS – episode four

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The dearth of comments suggest Hit & Miss is a show people either don't like, aren't watching, or don't feel obliged to talk about. That's a shame. It certainly isn't great, but as these things go every episode's kept me entertained and convinced to keep watching. The performances are strong and the cinematography is wonderful, which helps cover the fact the storylines feels like someone's scratching several "gritty soap" itches. The show may have been created by Shameless' wunderkind Paul Abbott, but perhaps because every episode's written by Sean Conway, Hit & Miss isn't as subtle and intelligent as I was expecting. It's actually rather insulting at times, in how it bludgeons you with its blunt dialogue and anvilicious attempts at subtext.

But just as you start to get tired of everything, the show delivers a moment to make you sit up and change your mind: be it a creepy homeless man who turns out to be the kid's reclusive uncle; or John (Vincent Regan) strangling Riley (Karla Crome) on her bed because she refuses to have an abortion. Plus I still don't quite know where anything's headed, in general terms, particularly now cartoonish villain John's been shot dead by Riley and Ben (Jonas Armstrong) is struggling to reconcile his feelings for fancying "a man". I have a few theories, but it's the kind of show that can about-turn at any given moment. That's the saving grace of British dramas that don't need to be mindful of a network expectation to last five years minimum.

As of right now, I'm just savouring the good and giggling over the bad. Chloë Sevigny's terrific as Mia, few UK dramas look better (credit to nature for some stunningly desolate hilly locations), and there are some excellent sequences (like Mia strangling a man with a plastic bag inside a telephone booth, while taking a break on a car journey to get the kids fish and chips), but I wish the show was smarter. There's a great concept and fun characters here (performed by good actors), but there's also a huge amount of idiocy and well-trodden plotting. If Hit & Miss had sharper writing, I could get behind it more positively and implore you to watch it... but it doesn't, so I can't. But that's not to say there's nothing of value here, because I'm actually enjoying it a great deal. It's just not what it could have been.

written by Sean Conway / directed by Sheree Folkson / 12 June 2012 / Sky Atlantic