In continuing to stick up for Hunted I’m out on a bit of a limb, it seems. The main charges against the show, insofar as I can judge from The Guardian’s weekly ragdolling of it, are as follows.
It’s improbable. Indeed it is. Wildly so. I mean, did you see that opening sequence where Sam, on a bike, kept pace with baddies in a Range Rover? To which my answer is: so what? Is it any sillier than, oh, just about any other drama going at the moment? Even the revered Sherlock? Look: if you want accuracy, go watch a documentary and, if you’re lucky, you might get some.
It’s complicated. No, it isn’t, or not unduly so – and I can’t follow anything much these days.
It’s filmed though a variety of filters. Yes, “haunting” and “atmospheric” American dramas can do that sort of thing. Not British ones, though.
Sam pouts a lot. Well, that’s how Melissa George looks, and short of getting plastic surgery or giving up acting I’m not sure what she’s supposed to do about it.
No, it’s not great and yes, it is dumb as nuts, but I remain firmly of the view that (i) it’s better than its detractors are allowing, and better than just about any other British drama I’ve seen over the past couple of years, with the exception of Sherlock and The Hour, and (ii) – once again I return to this – it would be getting a significantly more reverential reception from British critics and viewers were it from anywhere else but Britain.
In fact, kind of proving my grass-is-always-greener theory, a few of the better American critics this week piled in on the side of Hunted: Ken Tucker, Maureen Ryan, and, most encouragingly of all, Alan Sepinwall. According to Sepinwall, “(T)he atmosphere and suspense are terrific, and the leading lady is compelling…”. No, Alan. They’re using silly filters and she pouts a lot. Didn’t you get the memo? I think I’ll align myself with them rather than The Guardian’s sneerers, thanks.
This week’s episode, as it happens, was the best yet: taut and suspenseful, with Sam now walking a tightrope chez Turner, where it’s clear that they’re just about on to her. Not only that, Aidan has discovered her Conspiracy Wall, and in consequence is himself on the trail of Hourglass. It turns out that Natalie, the woman Aidan was having betrayal-sex with last week, is MI6’s designated Byzantium liaison officer. So MI6 has operatives whose job it is to liaise with private espionage firms, does it? I wonder. Anyway, she’s offered a Byzanti-job in return for Mole info, but she’s not giving it up.
In the main plot, it transpires that Turner has been using a piece of software which allows him to sell investments at the time of maximum benefit – i.e. in the milliseconds after a disaster, and it isn’t too much of a leap to show that he’s been creating disasters for precisely that reason. And as he currently has a pressing need for money, the episode ends with a Turner-sponsored explosion in an office building. And with that sinister killer pointing a syringe at Sam’s eye. Ew.
I’m not making any massive claims for Hunted, but this was a well-constructed and enjoyable hour of TV, and I liked it.