Critical Condition: The Rook

The Rook | Neon, from Monday

☆☆☆☆ “A wan young British woman wakes up beside the Thames, surrounded by mangled bodies. She may have done the mangling, but she doesn’t know if or how or why, because her memory has been erased. No, she is not in a Christopher Nolan film. Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas is in The Rook, a new series that combines elements of a mutant-superhero story, a spy thriller and a workplace drama set in a romantically stodgy Anglophilic institution.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆☆ “This Starz adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s superpowered spy novel trades the book’s sense of humour and fun for a by-the-numbers thriller set in handsomely shot London … There’s enough intrigue in the stripped-bare skeleton of O’Malley’s book to keep The Rook casually watchable, but even those who haven’t read the tome will be able to sense that in a show this gloomy and conventional, opportunities for more colourful characterization and plotting must have been neglected.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

☆☆☆ The Rook is a very slick series with some solid action and very rich style. It also has enough of a sense of pacing to not feel overdone – which feels like the biggest sticking point for a lot of high-end premium cable series these days. Emma Greenwell’s Myfanwy is very grounded, and the supporting cast that surrounds her is more than capable of carrying the load of the series along with her… but none of this is to say the series is not without its faults.” — Forbes.

☆☆☆☆ “It’s easier to forgive plot holes and convenient narrative trickery in a series that’s aware of its own absurdities, and is willing to entertain. The Rook has plenty to recommend it, but it often gets caught in the space between a pulpy genre thriller and a stony-faced espionage serial, too dark and constantly fighting its most promising abilities.” — The Atlantic.

☆☆☆☆ “Superpowers! Double-crosses! Quadruplets who share one mind across four bodies! A man who uses his ability to put others to sleep to have sex with his mistress while her husband dozes at the breakfast table! It should all be so exciting, yet The Rook seems determined to maintain a low, steady fizzle that always appears to be on the verge of flickering out.” — TV Guide.

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