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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Luther - Haven't we seen it before?

Blogs such as this get a reputation online by actors which I guess is fair as it is relatively easy to sit in a chair in front of a computer and vent your frustrations at the world or in my case the television. The difference is though I really want to like any new drama, comedy, reality or documentary that any channel throws at me and I’m genuinely disappointed when something turns out to be a lame duck.

I haven’t been wowed or glued to my seat by much output at all this year and so when the BBC started heavily promoting new crime drama Luther I found myself subconsciously licking my lips. It sounded right up my alley, strong cast of familiar of names and faces, a writer with a strong lists of credits and it was new. Luther for those who didn’t watch episode 1 stars Edris Elba (The Wire) as hard nosed no nonsense copper who likes to get inside the heads of his suspects whilst fighting his own personal demons and struggling to hold his life together. Now from my short description alone you should be able to pick one key flaw of the series up. The main problem with Luther (this is putting all its little faults aside) was it wasn’t a new drama at all. In fact we’d seen it done a thousand times before.

In order to be blown away by or to just sit down and enjoy the first episode you need not to have seen any other crime drama in the past thirty years. The tormented character who would trash the office if he dropped a paper clip, whose marriage hit the rocks years ago but he somehow remains blissfully unaware and just to fit all the cop drama clichés John Luther is a maverick who doesn’t play by the rules!

Its so easy to judge a new series on its opening episode but its also really unfair but as we’ve only seen the first episode so far I must call it as we see it. Putting its clichés aside another thing that got my back up was just how irritating Luther and everyone that swarmed around him were. Luther’s boss played by the normally note worthy Saskia Reeves seemed bored by role and had somehow acquired a rough cockney ascent and other faces like Steven Mackintosh and Paul McGann were sadly underused. The only real outstanding member of the cast was Ruth Wilson as Luther’s sufficiently creepy Ruth Wilson as Luther’s new arch nemesis/murderer Alice Morgan. In some scenes I found myself wishing she would perhaps run towards Luther with a rusty nail just to give him a real a problem to deal with.

I also found the dialogue on the sloppy side but saying that it did provide perhaps my favourite line that any crime drama has ever produced. It was a simple line, but was seemingly pivotal to the plot. I am of course referring to the moment when Luther’s great mind realized the gun was in the dog! Apologies for any spoilers there but yes the gun was in the dog!

So in summary, despite all its promotion and my high hopes Luther failed to deliver on almost every level and will fall in the basket with every other clichéd crime drama we’ve quickly forgotten about in recent years. Shame really.

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