I have to admit, what got me to check out this short-lived, BBC series from a few years back was getting to see the current Doctor Who (or alternative link to series 6 of Who), Matt Smith, in a very different role. Though a supporting player, Smith gets to show much more of his chops than he did in Christopher and His Kind or even the Sally Lockhart series; both of which work well, but aren’t exactly his shining moment.
While I came for Smith, I ended up staying for the story. The show is about modern-day British politics and what makes it all run. There are definitely some gaps for American viewers when it comes to references, but they don’t really matter. The intent is always clear. What becomes fascinating is seeing how political drive and personal life cross-over in subtle, and not-so-subtle ways. It really begs the question: who is drawn to politics or does political life corrupt those who are drawn to it?
Not that this is a deadly serious drama series… much like The West Wing, it balances its moments and stays true to characters. However, I suspect it was how much of the reality it exposed of the elected officials that killed the series after this one season. Do you really want to think of your elected reps as maneuvering idiots, back stabbing each other all the time? OK, we all think it, but do you really want to be convinced of it? West Wing showed the complexity of politics while also making it clear how many people of so many views were really fighting for what they thought was right, not just power.
Ultimately, it wraps up the arc it sets down the path on, but leaves many threads hanging for the never realized second season. If you can come into this expecting to get only partial resolution, there are definitely some worthwhile aspects.
This series also teams Smith up with Raquel Cassidy (or pre-teams them up since this pre-dates Who by 4 years) who was in two-part Who, The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People