Hooten & The Lady s1 ep 1

Hooten & The Lady, refreshingly, doesn’t waste too much time on its absurd premise: Lady Alexandra Lindo-Parker of the British Museum (Ophelia Lovibond, radiant) persuades her bosses to let her go on a trip to the Amazonian jungle to try and find the lost camp of British explorer Percy Fawcett; in return, she promises, the profile of the museum will be heightened, leading to more funding. (Fawcett’s story, incidentally, is told in David Grann’s wonderful book ‘The Lost City of Z’.) When she gets there her path crosses with that of brash American adventurer Hooten (Michael Landes, rakishly handsome). Hooten has, uh, fallen out with a local tribe – I’m just going to assume that the indigenous people in this show have been appropriately and sensitively portrayed, because I have no idea whether they have or not, and move on – and the two of them are captured.

They escape, of course, for what won’t be the last time this week; nor, I daresay, this season. Amazingly they find Fawcett’s camp; even more amazingly they discover his skeleton is holding a map which seems to direct them to the fabled lost city of El Dorado. And now the fun can really begin. It all means, though, that Alex has gone off the grid, to the concern of her colleagues back in London, including a grievously underused Jessica Hynes. Fortunately the British Museum has a man on the ground – Pascal – who can search for her. Now, we know Pascal’s a wrong ‘un even before we see him, because of his name – “He’s French”, snarks Hooten to Alex. “You didn’t see that coming?” – and, once again, they’re captured. Fortunately Pascal doesn’t kill them immediately, meaning that with a bit of rock they can slip their bonds…

Having seen this first episode, though, I’m entirely baffled by the claim that the show isn’t going to be a will-they-won’t-they deal. The Hooten/Lady relationship is straight from the shipping playbook: he’s American, roguish, flirty, attractive; she’s English, posh, feisty, attractive. They hate each other at first. They bicker; although, as ever with British shows, the supposedly witty dialogue could do with being punched up a bit. They fall down a mountainside whereupon they end up with him LYING ON TOP OF HER, WITH THEIR FACES INCHES APART, FOR SLIGHTLY LONGER THAN HE NEEDS TO, for God’s sake. There’s a bit of chat with a knowing local shop owner who wonders if Alex has slept with Hooten yet. When they escape certain death, they bicker/flirt some more. By the end, thousands of miles apart, she’s in London looking wistful, while he’s in Rio brushing off the advances of the hot woman who’s fencing a diamond for him. And Alex’s as yet unseen fiancé Edward – also, I’m betting, a wrong ‘un – hasn’t been able to make the opening of her Fawcett exhibition.

So, add flirty #bantz to good-looking locations, many apparently genuine, and a weekly treasure hunt, and Hooten & The Lady is more or less what you think it is: an essentially good-hearted throwaway adventure show, admittedly with a slightly adult spin: the occasional 12A-rated swear word, naked butt (his), heaving bosom (hers). There’s even a hint, unless I imagined it, of a Secret Pain right at the end. It’s spectacularly silly. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained. And the theme music is by Ezra Furman, which is to be encouraged. Rome next week, then.

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5 thoughts on “Hooten & The Lady s1 ep 1

  1. CJ Cregg September 17, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    I thought it was just ok – ended up splitting it into two sittings because I got a bit bored halfway through. It was very old-fashioned, which is fine, but in order to hold the attention for the whole season it’s going to need to do a bit more than lift just about every scene from a better tv show/film. And it will DEFINITELY have to give us #HALEX. You’re absolutely right, Jed – every scene was straight out of the shipping playbook and just made me even more flabbergasted that they’re even PRETENDING this won’t be ALL about the romance. Hooten (whom I absolutely love, Landes is great) was right too – Alex (not so keen on her, sorry) *totally* puckered up.

  2. Jed Bartlet September 17, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Are you sure it was *Alex* who puckered up, CJ…?

    Anyway, yes. I’m on Team #Halex. I foresee an episode in which they have to pretend to be married to get their hands on some McGuffin or other. Alex will, of course, be dead against the idea until she sees how Hooten scrubs up in a tux.

    Or something. You know how this works.

    • CJ Cregg September 17, 2016 / 10:16 pm

      I’m prepared to admit Alex wasn’t the only one doing the puckering….

      Ooh yes, the undercover-as-a-couple ep – there will need to be a scene where, when looking for the McGuffin, they’re caught somewhere they shouldn’t be so Hooten will lean in, whisper something like “follow my lead” and snog The Lady, to make it look like they got lost and amorous. The security guards will then just look annoyed instead of murderous and wave them on and they will get away. And after the initial “Phew!”s, Hooten and The Lady will both be all “no big, it was just pretend” but it *will* be a “big” and it will *not* really be “pretend.” AND I WILL SAY AGAIN “HOW ON EARTH IS THIS NOT GOING TO BE A SHIPPING SHOW?”

      • Traxy October 11, 2016 / 1:08 am

        I’m just really hoping for that episode to exist now, tux and all. 😍

        • CJ Cregg October 11, 2016 / 8:31 pm

          Heh, me too Traxy 😉

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