Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Under The Radar...

Amidst the hoopla of all the fall seasons new and returning shows, a little gem of an HBO/BBC mystery miniseries entitled Five Days quietly premiered last night on Movie Central.


The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, including this from TV Guide's Matt Roush:
Five Days, an HBO-BBC collaboration airing over five Tuesdays, goes for the emotional jugular as it immerses us in the anguish of a family trapped in limbo after a young mother suddenly vanishes. As police suspicion and relentless media scrutiny take their toll, a blue-chip cast of British pros (David Oyelowo, Penelope Wilton, Patrick Malahide, Edward Woodward, Janet McTeer) elevate the melodrama. The suspenseful story jumps days or weeks between episodes, each hour focusing on a pivotal day in the investigation. I watched with an escalating sense of dread, but still was unprepared for the powerful twists along the way.

I found episode one riveting, and was reminded of the days of British mystery brilliance like Traffik, Cracker, and especially Prime Suspect. Writer and creator Gwenyth Hughes gives a good interview about her inspiration and her process HERE, nailing the importance of getting the ending right in these types of programs...
I think when you're doing anything that has any kind of whodunit element, the outcome of the whodunit is enormously important to the audience. But you've got to sort the whodunit part out and that's very difficult, especially over five hours. It's quite a lot of suspects to keep going. And you've got to reach a point in the end when you reveal whodunit, it's both enormously surprising and the only possible person who could have done it. But at the moment of the reveal, the audience goes oh, oh of course. It causes much lost sleep to get it right.

So far it's being played out as a closed mystery. And it's a hard enough to keep the audience guessing and the ending a surprise in a one hour episode, much less over five hours. I truly hope it's successful.

I know its a little pointless to single a show out after its already aired, but I believe you can still watch episode one at the HBO website. And hopefully Movie Central will repeat it again later in the week.

5 comments:

Good Dog said...

Have to say, I kind of gave up on the show around episode three or four when it was shown here earlier in the year. Although I did nip back in for the final part.

Even then I was only watching because it had Janet McTeer in the cast.

It's out on shiny disc here and I noticed that it contains the "US version of Episode 5" so maybe some tinkering has gone in the in-between time.

Callaghan said...

Thanks for the tip. I had heard about this show, but assumed that it wasn't on Canadian TV yet.

Callaghan said...

On TMN on this side of the country, episode one repeats on Monday night, with new episodes airing on Tuesdays.

Bill Cunningham said...

Yes, I saw the remarkably subtle ads on the bus benches here, and thought that it would be worth my time.

I'll check it out.

Jutratest said...

I got an episode on a hook and am realing it in. Looks good.