For me, the greatest sin of any homegrown show is try-hard self-consciousness – and thankfully, there’s none here whatsoever**. It looks and sounds like a real TV show, rather than something we should watch out of patriotism. The direction and cinematography are uniformly flashy. The characters are clearly delineated. The plotting is pacey and the dialogue largely on point with only occasional excursions into exposition.
But I’m not feeling for any of the characters. Why am I not caring for:
- a father who wants his sons back at any cost (and, so far, without much thought)?
- a bitchy sister who keeps needling her brother’s wife-with-a-shameful-history?
- or the brothers inside the compound, in too deep and with seemingly nowhere to run?
And what’s the deal with the mercenary hired by the outside group? If he’s really an ex-SAS soldier, he’s being awfully reticent and docile. A character with a skill set like his is a game changer: the rules of engagement may differ (it’s not a warzone so killing people isn’t a good idea) but the game is the same – if your objective is to get certain people out of a compound, then you do everything and anything to achieve that objective. Instead, he’s rolled on and off screen like a prop, as and when the story dictates.
Ep three screens tomorrow, and The Goddess has given me the hard word: If this doesn’t get any better, you’re on your own.
POSTSCRIPT: OMFG – The Cult‘s section on the TVNZ website has a writers blog where creator Peter Cox shows some of the development process that went into the show.