Monday, July 16, 2018

Pilot Review: Next of Kin

Next of Kin (Sundance Now)
Premiered June 21

This streaming service continues to deliver international series that have made waves overseas. This one stars Archie Panjabi, a native of London best known to American audiences for her Emmy-winning role as Kalinda on “The Good Wife.” I also saw her on “Blindspot,” and here she seems almost unrecognizable, playing a far more standard, subdued part that is much more straightforward. She’s supported by Jack Davenport from “Smash,” “Swingtown,” and, of course, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” This is the type of pilot that doesn’t make clear from its outset where it’s going, and even by the end of the first hour, it’s still not apparent. Panjabi’s Mona isn’t going to take her situation lying down, having her dead brother’s family placed under suspicion when it’s his son who seems to be far more culpable, and she’s going to run headfirst towards danger to make sure that justice is served as best as she can. This is just the latest British miniseries of its kind, which originally aired back in January on ITV, and spans a case over the course of a short run, six episodes in this instance. While the brutal murder of a captive by terrorists was hard to shake, this pilot didn’t stand out enough for me from the wave of similar series that are premiering in the United Kingdom and then broadcasting months or years later on some American network. Panjabi and Davenport do seem to be giving this their all, but this is hardly the best project either of them has starred in.

How will it work as a series? Mona had her sister-in-law hand the phone directly to the detective in charge, showing that she’s ready to cut through any red tape and go much further than that in pursuit of the truth. This should serve as a decent thriller while also exploring themes of racial profiling, religion, and other relevant topics.
How long will it last? It’s hard to find any information about this show other than a few lukewarm reviews and reports of how it faltered in the ratings as compared with other series during its initial broadcast on ITV. Most of what Sundance Now is importing is meant to simply be presented to an American audience rather than find one of its own, and so I assume six episodes is all this show needs and all it’s going to get.

Pilot grade: C+

No comments: