It has been a lot longer than I realised since my last post, which is such a shame!(*Shame* 🔔 *Shame* 🔔*Shame*🔔) But fear not, despite feeling like there are not enough hours in the day, I have managed to start and finish a new series. Then again it is British, with a grand total of seven episodes for the entire series, in any case I haven’t done a TV review for some time so let’s see how this goes.
Randomly on BBC One – a channel I am never on without purpose – I saw the trailer for New Blood and was instantly intrigued. Throw in the fact that it was created by esteemed author Anthony Horowitz (the Alex Rider series) I knew I had to at least watch the first episode.
Whipping straight into the thick of it, we find ourselves in a dust hazed and overpopulated town that looks and feels like the media fed perception of India. Desperate for fast and easy money, five British travellers sign up for a drug trial with that youthful uncaring flippancy that doesn’t allow them to think too deeply into what is being injected into them. – Ahh to be young again.
Five years later when one of them turns up dead, it’s clear that whatever brought these strangers together, is working twice as hard to keep them quiet – It’s enough to make anyone rethink taking that quintessential ‘gap yah’ they’ve been fantasizing about. In the early stages of their careers and eager to prove themselves whilst doing the right thing, Rash and Stefan are thrown together by chance when their seemingly unconnected cases end up with them sharing a suspect.
The season is split into three cases over the course of seven episodes and our leading ladies includes Arrash ‘Rash’ Sayyad (Ben Tavassoli) a cocky police officer turned Trainee Detective Constable, and Stefan Kowolski (Mark Strepan) a junior case officer for the Serious Fraud Office. Boyish, charming and multi-skilled alike, for every one of their commonalities, there’s a gaping difference; Where Stefan blurs the lines of the law and does things on a whim, Rash works methodically and is a stickler for the rules. Their Odd Couple dynamic is flawless and fluid (if not a little rehearsed at times), making you smile in glee and roll your eyes in fondness.
I will admit that at first I thoroughly disliked the shutter speed style transition shots that made me feel like I had invaded the mind of a drug addict… or that of a London commuter. After a while I warmed up to them as they aided in setting the pace for each scene, and overall gave the show a certain je ne sais quoi.
Now let’s not assume that just because I live in London; I know everywhere in London. I’m not a cabbie, I really don’t… however I could tell that they went further than just the standard tourist fuelled iconic shots of Big Ben, the London Eye and the Shard. Of course they were there too (What are you? Mad?!), but it was along side shots from all over the city; North London, Greenwich, Stratford and half a dozen other nook and crannies that I didn’t recognise.
Even though none of us have ever even heard of the Serious Fraud Office, and half of us aren’t entirely sure if they made up that department, Stefan and Rash consistently coincidentally overlapping cases seemed like the most natural thing in the world. It’s as if Murder and Fraud were as made for each other as Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Harry and Sally or Milkybar and the Milkybar Kid.
Something that would normally nag at me like a loose thread was that there was something not quite final with the close of each case. I like my mysteries solved and filed away, kept for reference purposes only, but with New Blood it felt like these pockets of stories left ajar are blowing a slow wind that will cause a storm a lot further down the line.
Aside from their cases and their work life, Rash and Stefan had a realistic friendship filled with arguments, accidental drunk nights and a general ride or die attitude for one another. They dealt with the London housing issue facing a lot of young people and the constant fight to have a voice in a world where people still see you as a child even at 30.
I’m always interested to get a general view of what everyone else is thinking, especially when it come to new shows, and thus I came across a piece in the Guardian which I will partially quote for you; “it is perhaps refreshing not to have a world-weary old divorced copper with a complicated past and most probably a drink problem at the heart of things. But actually I prefer the character and the performance of world-weary old copper DS Sands (Mark Addy), and bossy SFO boss Eleanor Davies (Anna Chancellor), and Shady Government Chap (Mark Bonnar) to these thrusty young generation Y bucks on bikes with a stop-start urban backdrop.” – Sam Wollaston
I am refraining from going in to too much of a heavy rant over the above quote…but… it’s comments like these that are keeping the television slate in the UK boringly stagnant. If every character was your Mark Addy, Suranne Jones and Christopher Eccelston then where does that leave room for upcoming talent not just on screen but off?
Attempting to end on a happier note; the show seemed pretty well received, and despite my annoyance with these ever short seasons, I’m hoping series 2 will be round the corner quicker than you can say Sherlock Series 4.