Doctor Foster: A Review

Doctor Foster proved that, as the saying goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Capturing viewers in the UK and exploding onto New Zealand screens last week, Mike Bartlett’s five-part drama Doctor Foster was riveting from the moment Rae Morris’s For You played in the TV One trailer – a song just as gripping and compelling as the series.

Doctor Foster follows small-town doctor and loyal wife, Dr Gemma Foster (played by Scott and Bailey‘s Suranne Jones), as her perfect world slowly unravels after she suspects her husband, Simon (Matilda‘s Bertie Carvel), of having an affair.

A tangled web of lies and deceit was craftily unwoven by writer Mike Bartlett over five epic nights, revealing a town with a host of characters who seemed, at times, just as twisted as the subliminal faults in Gemma’s marriage – mostly on Simon’s part I might add.

Not shy of exploring long-held societal questions about a woman’s place outside of the home: her ability to juggle work and a family along with maintaining a healthy social life – questions Jones herself discussed in an article in The TV Guide – the series certainly seemed to keep viewers on their toes, constantly questioning what Gemma’s next move would be as she unravelled that tangled web – woven by the whole town it seemed!

The sole focus of the series on Gemma may have been a bit of a surprise for Suranne Jones – a fact viewers would either love or hate, Jones revealed – but it left viewers truly able to invest in her character, I felt.

After all, grumbling at the television would not have had the same effect if viewers hadn’t had the chance to really get to know Gemma and her world – a feat for Bartlett in such a small amount of running time.

Although, thanks to superb writing by Bartlett, there were a couple of moments where I questioned how well the audience had gotten to know Gemma. The first being when I thought she’d given up in the fourth episode by attempting suicide, the second when she decided to stay with Simon (that was a face-to-palm moment that one) and the third when I, like Simon, wholeheartedly believed she’d killed her son Tom.

How possibly could I have thought that?!

The finale, however, was what really capped off the series for me, and not just because of the very apt ending.

Not only was it highly explosive from the moment Gemma and Simon walked through the Parks’ door, but the calculating, dark side Gemma revealed made for a finale that certainly kept viewers on their toes – myself included.

After all, as one of the characters from Gemma’s past revealed, she’s always known how to hurt people.

And, as the saying goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right?

A fantastic series that is well worth the watch and very deserving of the second series that has been commissioned.

5/5

And, as a testament to how gripping Doctor Foster was (trailer music aside) you can catch the trailer below:

 

 

 

 

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Cuffs: First Impressions

A police-based drama finally returns to BBC One after HolbyBlue eight years ago.

The opening episode of the BBC series Cuffs proved to be a bad day at the office for rookie cop and main protagonist, PC Jake Vickers (played by newcomer Jacob Ifan).

By Jake’s own admission, being bled on and spat on (among other things) was not his idea of a great first day on the job.

However, a bad day at the office promises what I hope will be a great series, despite its cancellation by the BBC.

Cuffs follows the on-and-off-the-job lives of several front-line police officers and detectives with the fictional South Sussex Police service, as they deal with everything from harassment on a nudist beach to race-hate motivated crimes.

Although I’ve seen plenty of cop dramas before, my favourite being Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty, it appears Cuffs will offer a fresh perspective on the genre, and not just because it’s based by the Brighton sea.

Already after one episode, the series has delved into the lives of the characters, not only revealing a lot of what they’re like on the job, but also at home.

Viewers have already gathered that Jake wants to move out of his father’s shadow and make something of himself, on his own two feet.

From Chief Superintendent Robert Vickers’ (Peter Sullivan) words with Jake’s mentor, PC Ryan Draper (Ashley Walters), I can already tell that this will prove to be difficult.

Viewers also have the not-quite-so-inkling suspicion that “politician” daddy may be being unfaithful to his sick wife (played by The Bill‘s Clare Burt) with DS Jo Moffat (Amanda Abbington), who already seems like she’s more invested in the relationship than he is.

And finally, viewers have glimpsed that underneath PC Draper’s tough exterior is a loving father who clearly wants what’s best for his children, albeit juggling work with home life.

But Cuffs doesn’t stop there.

The series, so far, has not flinched away from showing the highs with the lows.

Although it does not appear to explore darker ‘taboo’ themes in the same nitty-gritty, dark and brooding fashion of Line of Duty, the series has already adeptly explored suicide, child abduction, racism, and infidelity, all in the first episode.

So stay tuned, I’ll be back for my final review in seven weeks.

But in the meantime, you can catch the trailer below.

The Player: A Review

The Player proved Cassandra (Charity Wakefield) and Mr Johnson (Wesley Snipes) were the only people 'The House' needed, all of 'The Players readily disposed of, including Kane (Phillip Winchester). (Photo by: Gregory E. Peters/NBC)

After watching the finale of NBC’s The Player, I’m left questioning whether Alex Kane wasn’t the only one who was played.

It seems the viewers were also cheated.

Sticking with the series for nine episodes no one was still any closer to learning who had taken Ginny and, most importantly, why.

Locker full of weapons aside, The Player clearly left viewers with more questions than answers.

Was Ginny a spy? Involved in some dirty dealings?

And who was after Johnson and why?

Questions and cliffhangers aside, the series proved to be the only show I regretted watching for 2015.

A waste of viewing time, The Player danced around the central plot without ever getting to it.

The relationships and loyalties in this series? Just as hard to put your finger on as the point of The Player.

One moment Cassandra was siding with Alex, Mr Johnson the root of all evil, and the next she was committed to saving Johnson’s skin, facing-off against the big bad wolf who wanted to take him down, whoever that was.

Honestly.

If viewers were looking for revelations after all of the drawn-out suspense, they were left, once again, disappointed.

The only revelation the series seemed to afford viewers was Mr Johnson and Cassandra were clearly always meant to be a duo, ‘The Player’ a convenient muscle readily disposed of.

What a bombshell!

If you like a show who’s quality is just as questionable as the characters’ loyalties, then I highly recommend The Player.