Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pilot Review: Tin Star

Tin Star (Amazon)
Premiered September 29

The wealth of new shows premiering each week on the top streaming services is staggering, and of course a number of them would have to be imported from other countries. This show, which premiered on Sky Atlantic in the UK three weeks earlier, is a British production set in Canada and a fairly decent fit for American audiences. It’s hard to know what to make of this show, which opened with a very violent, bloody scene that seemed like a dream but was instead just part of this show’s dark course. The notion that Tim Roth’s Chief Worth sees a violent Mr. Hyde-type version of himself in the mirror when he’s drunk or high is intriguing though it doesn’t quite jive with the rest of this otherwise straightforward, non-supernatural narrative. We’ve seen this kind of premise before, with invading oil interests and an out-of-towner in a position of law enforcement, colliding with the native people and their own predilections towards defense of their territory. Roth is a superb actor, last seen in film in a great role in “The Hateful Eight,” and this is a perfect part for him since he has a fantastic volatility that enables him to make Worth a memorable protagonist unafraid to speak his mind when he’s sober and quite threatening and frightening when he’s not. I’m thrilled to see Christina Hendricks, one of the best parts of “Mad Men,” as the one liaising with the people on behalf of the oil company, and Christopher Heyerdahl from “Hell on Wheels” as its menacing head of security. I also recognized Genevieve O’Reilly from “Episodes” as the chief’s wife and Kevin Hanchard from “Orphan Black” as a priest. This show does have an appeal, but I’m not just sure that I’m digging its dual personality focus as much.

How will it work as a series? We haven’t seen much of Jack, Roth’s other character, and my assumption is that Chief Worth is going to choose to let him loose – or be helpless to stop him – so that he can deal with the people who came after his family. I’m not sure there’s quite enough here for this show to be fully innovative and distinct even if it does have some positive assets.
How long will it last? The show premiered all in one fell swoop on Sky Atlantic and has now launched its whole first season as of last Friday on Amazon. It’s hard to find either reviews or viewership data, but I think this could honestly go either way. Amazon ends to renew its shows, and therefore I’d expect a second season to be possible if hardly guaranteed.

Pilot grade: B

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