Monday, 2 July 2012

True Love

On TV: 17th - 20th June 2012
Channel: BBC One 10.35pm
Episode Type: Drama Series, 5 episodes
In 1 Sentence: Executed with great confidence and potential and yet utterly disappointing...
BBC Summary: David Tennant, Ashley Walters, Billie Piper, Jane Horrocks and David Morrissey star in an improvised series, exploring five powerful and overlapping love stories set in the same town.

My Review: Oh dear. I was so excited by this, but unfortunately I knew by the first 15 minutes that ultimately this was all going to be a disappointment. If I was disappointed by David Tennant’s episode then how was I going to feel about the rest?! It was a little too awkward and gosh, there were far too many long pauses and it got rather dull. And the endings of almost all the episodes bar the fourth one (which was my favourite which I’ll talk about in a moment) were absurd. Completely unrealistic and often so unconnected to the rest of the episode that it was laughable. And all this talk about how their lives ‘intertwine’ never quite happened. Sure Lacey Turner, Kaya Scodelario and Charlie Creed Miles were in more than one episode but actually it wasn’t needed particuarly and didn’t really add anything except for Charlie Creed Miles. He played David one of the best written characters as he actually had some sort of realism and depth to him. Seeing him cheat with Holly in episode 3 and then in episode 4 which focused on his wife Sandra and her affair it completely changed how you viewed the story which I really liked. But otherwise the overlaps didn’t make an ounce of difference.
It’s such a shame as there was so much potential in this series and I think that perhaps if the episodes were longer than about 25 minutes there could have been more room for improvement. 
You really appreciate how good BBC writers are after watching this too, as scripts are written for a reason! The improvisation just felt off and stale and it would have been far more realistic to have the characters and plots written properly and executed well rather than making it up as you go along - which was what it felt like. I respect the BBC for taking a risk and experimenting but I hope they’ve learnt that it doesn’t really work!
Back to the stories themselves and the plots felt repetitive. The first episode is about Nick cheating on his wife with a past-love, the second Paul cheats on his wife with a stranger, the third David is cheating on his wife with Holly and Sandra cheats on David in the fourth episode. There was a lot of cheating going on and it wasn’t until the fourth episode that I really felt there was any ‘true love’. I was actually beginning to think the title was meant to be ironic.
Another theme which occurred which was ridiculous and even made my mum and I laugh out loud was the forgiving wives at the end of the episodes. How on earth is that true love?! Nothing seemed to change and it just seemed to be an easy escape route; a way to tie things off on a semi-happy note. It was just so frustrating as it was about as far from real life as could be possible! There were no repercussions or consequences - such as Holly having an affair with one of her students. I struggled to keep watching, but the fourth episode changed my opinion a little. 
Sandra was one of the only likeable characters and I was quite moved by her story. Her affair with Ismail seemed natural, I empathised with her and the ending was uplifting rather than depressing. If they had just played this episode I would have had much nicer things to say but alas, they ended with episode 5 which was the most atrocious of them all. 
All in all I felt let down as the BBC drama is usually of the highest standard. It was filmed nicely I’ll give it that, even if it was bit pretentious at times, but the stories themselves destroyed any good work that the actors or directors did.
Score: 4.5/10

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