Thursday, 14 May 2009

Spooks - The Great Escape

Advantages: Compelling, well produced.

Disadvantages: Some bad lines here and there.

Spooks is a compelling spy drama broadcast in Britain by the BBC. 
It is in its seventh series now - each series consists usually of 8 episodes. 
This is a general review - to be specific would mean giving unavoidable spoilers. 

It revolves around the work of MI5 (and MI6 occasionally) and how they go about protecting the UK from terrorism - both from within and outwith the UK.

Sounds a bit plain and simple, huh? 

Spooks is action-packed, right from the off. The team, are based at the 'grid', their HQ in London, and headed by Harry Pierce, played marvellously by Peter Firth. You will of course remember him from the Here Come the Double Deckers, if you are old enough. He played Scooper (go find an episode on youtube, and shock yourself! You will feel really old!). 

Harry is supported by a team that variously consists of characters played by actors such as: Shauna Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Rory MacGregor, Graeme Mearns, Hugh Simon, Rupert Penry-Jones, Keeley Hawes, Miranda Raison, Nicola Walker, David Oyelowo, Raza Jaffrey, Hermione Norris.... like any organisation, even in the imaginary world of Spooks, people come and go. 

What to expect here: explosions, murder, intrigue, double-crossing, affairs of the heart, secrecy, betrayal, technical wizardy, some really bad acting, some really naff lines. 

Some series have a definite identifiable thread running all the way through each episode involving a compelling cliff-hanger at the end of each episode, other series have a story for each epsiode usually resolved at the end. 

Harry Pierce is the top dog, he is cool, calm collected, unruffled, but very very human and vulnerable beneath it all. We do get glimpses of his emotions, what affects him, we get clues into his romantic life, and we so want him to have a love-life. 

Tom Quinn, played by Matthew Macfadyen, is also one cool character, in the sense of being the strong, silent type, whereas Adam Carter, played by Rupert Penry-Jones, will be seen as 'cool' as in more leaning towards a bit of a lad. With both of these characters, we get to see how being a spook, can have an effect on your love-life. Both these characters play a similar rank in the series and with the addition of the character Lucas North, played by Richard Armitage, who plays a similar character to the other two, this completes the trio of eye-candy for the ladies. 

The characters Malcom and Colin are the brains of the operation, these are the guys who save the day with thier technical know-how. 

The ladies are well represented, in what is often seen as a male-dominated 'industry' and there are some brilliant characters performed by Nicola Walker, Miranda Raison, Keeley Hawes, Olga Sosnovska, the wonderful Connie played by Gemma Jones (you know, Bridget Jones' mum), and the wonderfully supercool Ros Myers played by Hermione Norris. Sadly the female representation of Spooks was let down by the inclusion of a 'dizzy blonde' character, the underdog status of such being underpinned by the character being a Scot. Good old P.C., Anglo-centric Britain! 

As I said at the beginning of the review, I have tried not to be too specific, for fear of creating spoilers, but if you like being kept on the edge of your seat, you like cliff-hangers, if you like escapism, if you like to believe in the blatantly unreal for an hour, if you can put up with ocassional bad acting and some god-awful, cheesey lines now and again, you will want to watch Spooks.

Summary: Typically good telly

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