Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pilot Review: Marcella

Marcella (Netflix)
Premiered July 1

I like to try everything that Netflix has to offer if I can, even if it’s imported from another network since it’s presumably acquired and distributed with good judgment. I’m also usually a fan of dark thrillers about serial killers, but I’m finding more and more lately than this genre isn’t always a great fit for eager new shows. This iTV import stars Anna Friel, who I and many American audiences got to know from her endearing role on “Pushing Daisies” and who then appeared in the short-lived “Allegiance.” Now she’s back at home in London in a much moodier, grimmer show about a cop back on the case after a long break. What sets this show apart more than the disturbing natures of its crime is Marcella’s extremely unstable state. She gives Carrie Mathison a run for her money, particularly when she started hitting Jason, pushed him down the stairs, and then blacked out, coming to only when he had already gone with no recollection of what happened in between. She’s a very volatile character, and I’m sure she’ll make a fascinating protagonist. I see Jamie Bamber from “Battlestar Galactica” listed as a series regular, but it looks like he doesn’t appear until episode two. I was excited to recognize Laura Carmichael, best known for playing Edith on “Downton Abbey,” as a woman tangentially connected to whatever’s going on. This premiere didn’t hook me and I don’t intend to revisit this show, but it is relatively intriguing and will probably head somewhere interesting.

How will it work as a series? This is structured as an eight-episode first season, and Marcella has already become very embroiled in this case, so I’m sure that there are plenty of avenues that this story can take. There are certainly enough characters, so I imagine this complex drama will be more than capable of spinning its tale.
How long will it last? Reports from May, when the show finished airing in the UK, indicated that Friel was signed on for two more seasons even though the show hasn’t actually been renewed. I think it could easily continue, and my suspicion is that Netflix will continue to partner in streaming it if iTV brings it back.

Pilot grade: B-

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