Monday, November 12, 2018

Pilot Review: The Cry

The Cry (Sundance Now)
Premiered November 8

Four-episode limited series continue to be extremely popular and prolific overseas, and they are increasingly coming over to the United States thanks to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Sundance Now. The latest import comes from the United Kingdom, and originally aired there from September through October. I knew that something was going to happen to their baby but I didn’t know what, and therefore this pilot was full of dread as current court proceedings and flashbacks to happier – but equally stressful – times gradually started to reveal what led to how things were when we first met Joanna. The events here were relatively simple, and I applaud this show for being able to dramatize a lengthy flight from Scotland to Australia in such an intense and foreboding manner. Jenna isn’t exactly likeable, though it’s easy to have sympathy for her given the way that she was treated on that flight and the way in which Alistair stepped in to be the hero after sleeping for the majority of the time while she had to get yelled at by everyone for not being a competent mother since her child wouldn’t stop crying. This is a show that’s likely to be as much about the specific events of the baby’s disappearance as it is about the unraveling of Joanna’s mental state, whether or not she has actually suffered a break from reality. It’s not the most enticing of these shows that I’ve watched thus far, but it is decently intriguing and works well thanks to its pacing.

How will it work as a series? It took until the end of this episode for the specific incident that prompted all this attention to be revealed, and it’s not clear if the subsequent installments will be presented in a similarly splintered fashion or if they’ll just follow the proceedings of the court. Flashbacks will likely be crucial for filling in information, and four episodes seems like a proper amount of time to cover this story.
How long will it last? The ratings back in the UK were great, landing this show one of the top spots among new series. The reviews aren’t quite as consistent, with some objections to the non-linear narrative, but this does rate as one of the more successful such endeavors. Based on the subject matter, I don’t think it’s meant to go more than four episodes, but it should help prompt production of other series like this.

Pilot grade: B

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