Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pilot Review: Liar

Liar (Sundance)
Premiered September 27 at 10pm

It’s a bit strange to see Joanne Froggatt, the Golden Globe-winning star of “Downton Abbey” best known for playing the impossibly nice Anna, in a contemporary drama talking about driving a car. That’s mainly because Froggatt isn’t known for too much else in the United States, and now another British production is going to earn her more exposure. This series has one hell of a loaded title, implying that at least one of its characters is lying about something, the specifics of which become somewhat clear shortly into this episode. Froggatt’s Laura and Ioan Gruffudd’s Andrew seem like a perfect match, her a schoolteacher who has finally ended an unnecessary long if not particularly toxic relationship and him a widowed surgeon who seems effortlessly charming. And everything we actually saw happen – presented I suppose as the objective truth – indicates that they had a great night, but the way that Laura reacts the next morning shows that something is seriously wrong. This show could have been one of those that relies way too much on keeping the audience around to find out what actually happened, but fortunately there’s more to it that enhances it considerably. Laura has some sort of medical history that calls into question her mental state, and, regardless of what happened, she wasn’t ready to be told that she was lying and instead posted very publicly that he is a rapist, something that is sure to cause her problems in her life as a teacher and to damage his reputation irreversibly. The fact that Andrew could come talk to her at school because she sent his son to the principal’s office is a sign of just how intimate this show can be as it deals with a truly grave and serious subject.

How will it work as a series? I’m not sure of that just yet, but I’m interested in returning for episode two just to see where it heads and whether it’s all about the aftermath of a response or if it deals with the alleged act itself. Six episodes seems like a solid amount of time to cover this plot, so I feel like it can’t hurt to stick around.
How long will it last? This show premiered two weeks earlier on ITV in the UK, where it did pretty well in the ratings and has since remained steady, besting another show from the same creators that airs at the same time. The reviews seem to be pretty good, and while I don’t think that it’s meant to go beyond the six-episode order it got, I think it could well prove to be an appealing concept that could net a second season of some sort.

Pilot grade: B+

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