Critical Condition: CB Strike

CB Strike | SoHo, 8.30 Thursday

➢ “After the runaway success of the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling famously published her three Cormoran Strike mystery novels under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, to see how her genre writing might be received without her authorial imprimatur. (Fairly well, actually.) Given the source material’s backstory, it’s impossible not to wonder if the TV adaptation of the book series would have been greenlighted were it not for Rowling’s name. The seven-part miniseries is certainly handsome and well acted. It’s also brutally tedious.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢ “What looks on paper like recycled cliché — fleabitten private detective with dysfunctional life; clever female sidekick; beautiful young woman suffering a violent death (quelle surprise) — somehow managed to be different: old-fashioned and fresh simultaneously. Neither did it use female death as titillation, which makes a nice change.” — The Times.

➢ “Casting is such a tricky thing. Especially with adaptations. Get it wrong (say, John Hannah as the first Rebus) and a potentially great series can sink like a stone. Get it spot on, as the BBC has by casting Tom Burke as the lead in Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling (BBC One) and it can be the beginning of a fond and long-lasting communion between series, actor and audience.” — The Telegraph.

➢ “This adaptation works hard to maintain a balance between raw authenticity and the hokier demands of the genre. Sometimes the contrast jars – as when a woman on a street corner shouts ‘Fiver for a hand job?’ at the passing Strike – but mostly it succeeds. Burke plays Strike with just the right amount of grubby nobility: he is dishevelled, but not quite disgusting.” — The Guardian.

➢ “Ms. Rowling’s skill at sketching in characters translates well to the series, but it’s harder to capture the qualities of tone, atmosphere and phrasing that, in the books, make up for the looseness of the mystery plot. C.B. Strike is still looking for the spell that would accomplish that.” — New York Times.

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