Critical Condition: Baptiste

Baptiste | Netflix, from Monday [This series has since been pulled.]

☆☆☆ “A sort of 21st-century updating of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Tchéky Karyo’s crime-frighting codger Julien Baptiste was introduced in Harry and Jack Williams’s brooding Euro-caper The Missing. Now he is promoted to his own six-part drama Baptise (BBC1). On the evidence of episode one, the Williams siblings have once again cracked the code with a deftly spun procedural constructed around Karyo’s winningly imperturbable turn as the eponymous sleuth.” — The Independent.

☆☆☆ “I loved The Missing, and I loved Baptiste in The Missing. It was a bleak series, but it was clever, and there was a humanity to it that made the suffering seem, if not worth it, then at least bearable. Baptiste’s tenacity and vision was a huge part of that. So far, out on his own, he feels more like any detective at the heart of a functional crime thriller, borrowing moods from here and there, rather than the star of a standalone classic.” — The Guardian.

☆☆ “If you had not seen the first two series of The Missing, then I fear you might have been underwhelmed by the opening episode of Baptiste. Hold on — what am I saying? I did see the first two series of The Missing and I was still underwhelmed. At least for the first 45 minutes, which lacked pace and sufficient intrigue and presented a procession of unlikeable characters, although to be fair it’s early days.” — The Times.

☆☆☆ “Like The Missing, Baptiste is written by Harry and Jack Williams, who specialise not so much in plot twists as in regularly dismantling almost everything we thought we knew. And so they did again here … There’s no denying that much of this narrative trickery felt contrived. Happily, though, it also felt very well contrived. At this stage, it’s impossible to know what on earth will happen in episode two — but my guess is that most people will be desperate to find out.” — The Spectator.

☆☆ “Is there an algorithm for writing this review? There seems to have been one used to create Baptiste, a spin-off from The Missing, and even the staunchest fans of Tchéky Karyo will be struggling not to see the all-too-familiar formula poking through the script … I’m sure it’ll keep Tchéky Karyo’s afficionados happy enough over the next five episodes, but the lack of humour or originality in Baptiste is painful.” — The Arts Desk.

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