Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Wednesday 12 December 2007


Sitting slack-jawed in front of Spooks (well, it's been a tiring week at work and all I want to do at the moment is hibernate), it took me a while to feel it's all getting a bit.. well, repetitive?

It's the same high-glitz, high-energy mix of moral dilemmas (ends vs. means, individual vs. collective loyalties, lurking doom and count-downs to disaster, in plotlines that are no less improbable for a modish nod to contemporary issues. The "one in, one out" policy for central characters is as rigidly enforced as in the days of uniformed commissionnaires controlling the queues for the one-and-nines. Some praise is deserved for making the geek and an older woman into central, decisive and authoritative characters (is naming her Connie a knowing hommage to Le Carré's Smiley's People?).

But I'm starting to get the impression that, for all Rupert Penry-Jones showing us more than perhaps he intended, his shoulder-rolling walk is starting to look like Roger Moore's eyebrow in semaphoring a performance. And the central conceit of an impossibly small group of people doing all the impossibly dangerous and glamorous and techno-whizzy stuff (no computer system ever breaks down) is starting look - well, as though they work in an office plastered with those signs saying "The Impossible We Do At Once - Miracles Take Longer" and "You Don't Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps" and take them all seriously.

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