New Dramas Hit and Miss in HD

Two six-part dramas you’d expect to be SoHo exclusives instead premiere a week apart on different channels.

One spearheads a new look for Sky’s Rialto Channel (but not one, alas, that includes an HD upgrade); the other is a late-night addition to TV One’s schedule starring one of the network’s drama identities in a dramatically new guise, Big Love’s Chloe Sevigny.

In Hit & Miss, which premieres 11.00 on July 10, she plays — I kid you not — a transgender gun-for-hire who’s suddenly saddled with four kids, including one she didn’t know she’d fathered.

From Paul Abbott, the creator of  Shameless, State of Play and Clocking Off, it was commissioned by Britain’s model for SoHo, Sky Atlantic (although subscribers don’t have to fork out extra to view the channel as Kiwis have to for SoHo).

Only one self-contained season was produced but it was generally well reviewed.

“What has the potential to be absurd — a title pun in search of a series — plays, albeit slowly, as taut and absorbing,” said Variety.

The WashingtonPost acknowledged “this plot sounds laughably bizarre, but Hit & Miss has a strikingly strong sense of pace and character.”

Most British critics agreed: “It’s wonderfully unexpected and unpredictable and a debut commission in original drama that Sky Atlantic has every reason to be proud of” (The Independent); “has one or two cliches of the genre but it was well shot, scripted and acted” (The Observer).

However, the New York Times dismissed it as an “unsuccessful attempt to graft The Crying Game onto Party of Five”.

Whereas TV One will screen Hit & Miss in HD, Sky subscribers will have to pay to see the even more acclaimed Rectify in SD.

The Rialto Channel is kicking off a Wednesday TV drama slot with it tonight at 8.30.

Created by Sons of Anarchy scribe Ray McKinnon, the series stars Aden Young (Beneath Hill 60, Killer Elite) as a newly released Death Row inmate who, having served 19 years for the rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend, struggles to start life over in his home town.

“It isn’t just good TV, it’s revelatory TV,” the Los Angeles Times said.

It went to far as to dub Rectify “the genre’s biggest potential game changer since AMC debuted the one-two punch of Mad Men and Breaking Bad.”

Time magazine said “the greatest thing about Sundance’s haunting, transporting Rectify is that it’s willing to be timeless, and to take its time.

“It’s pokey, atmospheric, and the opposite of plot-driven. And it’s one of the best things I expect to see on TV all year.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “What makes Rectify so rich and compelling are the choices it makes to avoid predictability — not just in its bold choice of immersive pacing, but because it puts characters (and complicated ones) into what feels like a familiar story and makes it seem new.”

But again, the New York Times disagreed: “For about an episode and a quarter, it’s very good television.

“But over the rest of its six-episode first season it resembles nothing so much as a bad indie film, the kind of slow and tepid bummer that used to fill Sundance’s late nights and afternoons when it was a full-time movie channel.”

Sundance, of course, was the original name for the Rialto Channel when it launched 10 years ago.

Sky’s indie showcase, which costs subscribers $11.18 a month, has evolved from primarily an art house movie platform to one with more focus on documentaries and TV dramas.

This week the channel rebranded itself “The Storyteller” to highlight its enriched diversity.

“Our new story gives our brand a facelift without making it look unrecognisable,” general manager Roger Wyle said in the press release. “I believe ‘The Storyteller’ will recruit a new generation of subscribers to Rialto Channel.”

A pity executives didn’t try to distinguish it further by going HD with the new look, which thematically brands each night.

This is what series of the calibre of Rectify, Irish crime drama Love/Hate (8.30 Mondays), or next month’s French serial killer sensation Rebound (or Les Revenants) and ITV’s “pretty nicely done” take on Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs’ wife, Mrs Biggs, deserve — as do subscribers who expect storytelling that’s state-of-the-art.

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2 Responses to “New Dramas Hit and Miss in HD”

  1. After reading this I’m going to give Hit or Miss a go! Sounds very promising and different. It’s interesting that TVNZ has brought a Sky Atlantic show when we are lead to believe that all the top quality content is on Sky, maybe there is still hope for quality drama on free to air!

  2. Hope it’s better than The Fall. Just finished season one and if it wasn’t for Gillian Anderson (who frankly wasn’t that great), the show would rate a big fat zero.

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