Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pilot Review: Killing Eve

Killing Eve (BBC America)
Premiered April 8 at 8pm

I was very excited for this show, namely because BBC America has produced two of my favorite series in the past few years, the tragically short-lived “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” and the praised but still underrated “Orphan Black.” The most appealing thing about this show is that it’s created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the talented mind behind and star of “Fleabag.” I’m also fond of the genre, though I’m not sure that this conforms exactly to a typical thriller since it’s laced with some peculiar comedy. Opening with Villanelle pushes the little girl’s ice cream so that it spilled on her was strange but helpful in establishing the tone here. The introduction to Sandra Oh’s Eve was particularly undramatic, and she still seems to be a questionable lead for this show. I think I would have preferred if Waller-Bridge herself was playing either of these roles, and I don’t think that Oh is the best fit. Jodie Comer, on the other hand, does seem impressive, zipping herself into a suitcase and calmly suggesting a hairstyle for Eve before massacring everyone in the hospital. It’s also good to see Fiona Shaw used in an atypical role for her, far more prominent than the supporting parts she’s played recently in “Lizzie” and “Colette” and more normative and business-oriented than the wild one she had on “True Blood.” I’m still extremely curious to see where this goes, particularly as Eve becomes a secret agent and gets closer to realizing that she saw Villanelle and is the best person to go after all. Let’s hope for a more well-rounded second installment.

How will it work as a series? This show is based on novellas, which means that there’s good source material to inspire the eight-episode first season. What needs to happen – and soon – is to firmly establish Eve as a character capable of more than just following a hunch, as her relationship with Villanelle becomes more complex and intense. I still need to see more to be convinced that it can be truly compelling.
How long will it last? Well, the good news is that this show was renewed late last week in advance of its debut. Reviews seem to be pretty good, and so as long as the ratings deliver, I think this show is going to have a promising future, though I imagine it will only end up being two seasons unless Waller-Bridge wants to continue beyond that.

Pilot grade: B