Two six-ep mini-series were consumed recently:
- The Night Manager, a BBC-AMC co-production based on the John Le Carre novel, directed by Susanne Bier and stars Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman (who, to be honest, was the main reason why I started watching this); and
- The Last Panthers, an original Sky (UK)-Canal+ co-pro created by Jack Thorne, and stars Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, Goran Bogdan, and John Hurt.
Both have excellent casts, are slickly directed and written, jet set around the Continent, and are absorbing thrillers with compelling and flawed characters.
So why have I forgotten most of one while still mulling over the contents of the other?
It was the endings that sorted these two out — I was fully invested in each of them through the first five eps. In one show, the final ep was a stomach churner of suspense that followed the main players to inescapable and sometimes bitter resolutions. In the other, what began as a tense finale went limp partway through as it copped out with an ending where good triumphs over evil.
Who am I to say that it copped out? Well… what was I supposed to expect after five eps of betrayals and reversals and sacrifices? It certainly wasn’t what I got, I can tell you.
And what the heck do I know about inescapable and sometimes bitter resolutions? We’re all doing life, aren’t we? And, like it or lump it, betrayals, reversals and sacrifices come at a price.
So: beware endings.