What to say of you liked it
A visually appealing drama that exploited to the full the charms of the dual cosmopolitan settings and the two likeable leads.
What to say of you disliked it
A fashion show of a drama that relied entirely on overdosing on style, substance and beauty to disguise a soulless script that unnecessarily set the action an ocean apart when the primary division lay in the polarity of the sociological standings of Mike and Edie.
What was good about it?
• The lead characters were quickly and effectively characterised. For example, Mike’s a hard-nosed City trader at work who believes that love is just a chemical and that affection can be bought with a wad of notes; once he sheds his suit, he becomes a caring uncle, friend and lover.
• Navin Chowdry as Mike’s best pal Raph, who, with his hapless mannerisms and slovenly lifestyle, brings back fond memories of his role as Kurt in Teachers.
Rashida Jones is the most beautiful munchkin-like actress on TV since that lesbian girl in Attachments
• The dialogue is snappy, economical and witty – it either characterises or helps along the plot. The best line was after lovestruck Mike had just arrived at Edie’s apartment in New York. In a phone call, he told Raph he’d seen “some corpse coming out on a stretcher”, to which Raph replied: “Yeah that was your dignity, man.” Second best line was Edie’s reply to Mike when he said “I’m half Italian” after she enquired whether he had real coffee. “Yeah,”she drawled,” but maybe the British half of you bought the coffee.”
• The time shifts and split screening are easy to follow and judiciously used.
What was bad about it?
• Making the male protagonist a City broker. This isolates the (mostly) human audience from Mike because City traders are furless vermin (Tossus Avaricious) evolved from rats after being subjected to the corrupting ambience of London’s financial institutions, and who have now assumed control of the whole Square Mile, transforming it into a cesspit of inhuman amorality.
• The cast are far too beautiful and they glide from one lover to the next with the same blithe contentment as a bee fertilising a field of poppies, only sporadically becoming stuck on the pungent pollen of “love”.
• While having Mike and Edie in contrasting professions to create conflict is a trusted dramatic mechanism, and quite well handled, we hope that NY:LON doesn’t become a tedious morality tale of how love and kindness (Edie’s bohemian lifestyle and charitable teaching of illiterates) overcomes Mike’s money-mad City trader, so that he ends up wearing sandals, smoking a pipe and quoting from Hare Krishna.
• An abysmal soundtrack that seems to have been chosen by a 45-year-old marketing executive with a Mick Hucknall fixation that resulted in the inclusion of some of the dullest bands of the day such as The Thrills and Snow Patrol, while the rest was muzak typical of Woolworths or a lift. (Scissor Sisters excluded). If Edie “loved records” as much as she claims, she would be cheerleading as these were burned in a vinyl inferno.
• A number of irritating anomalies that interrupted the enjoyment of a pretty good drama. 1) Mike served Edie coffee in one those tiny metal cups whose portions would leave a wasp feeling short-changed. 2) many of the characters smoked in dialogue scenes, puffing away while not talking to add emphasis to their replies and make them look “cool”. 3) Mike and Edie’s first kisses were too passionate for smokers. 4) Edie has her bag stolen after taking her eyes off it for a moment. If she were truly an inhabitant of a rough borough of New York, she would not only have her bag chained to her wrist but also insert a thermo-nuclear device primed to go off should the bag be moved more than six feet from her person.