Monday, December 28, 2015

BBC ONE and LIFETIME FAIL BIG-TIME INDEED! Television Review: And Then There Were None...Airing on Lifetime TV

The following review is my opinion. We attempt to be positive on this site, but honesty must come first. There are a couple of spoilers listed here.

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's most famous of stories, And Then There Were None is absolutely dismal. It's just bloody awful. If you need to sleep and counting sheep isn't working for you, I would highly recommend a viewing of And Then There Were None. Attempt to watch this on a long flight and you will be out cold quite quickly.

One, why is anyone attempting to adapt this story again? If you are going to bring it back as a revival you need to do more than adding a character taking a snort of coke and placing someone else in a towel. Yes, you can keep re-adapting Shakespeare plays, but Agatha Christie is not Shakespeare. No more than John Grisham can be equated with John Steinbeck.

And Then There Were None premiered over the weekend on BBC One. It will air in the U.S. on Lifetime in mid-March (scheduling it in mid-March already lets you know what Lifetime thinks about it), but Americans need not wait with any zeal, since this will arrive on our shores with a thud of silence. The new production provides no suspense and it is bland on all levels.

The setting takes place in 1939 and a group of shady and not so shady characters all arrive on an isolated island only to be hood-winked by the inviting party. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? I'm not being sarcastic. It sounds interesting.

A relatively well-equipped group of actors slog through this meandering and passionless three hours. The usually reliable Miranda Richardson and Sam Neill are killed off relatively quickly, so we don't get to see them beyond episode two. The always respectable Charles Dance and Toby Stephens are predictably good in what they have to deal with, but this is why they work so much. They are good, no matter the material.

The menacing warning to this shifty crowd comes via an old phonograph player. All of these people are responsible for the deaths of at least one human being and they will all die - soon. Well, not all of them. Perhaps, their deaths don't come soon enough. The faster they go, the quicker we can get out of our boredom.

After the murders of a couple of members of this disengaged group of people we have characters worrying about the timing of eggs and whether they will be eating breakfast or not. They manage to find time to knit and even lay out in the sun. For no apparent reason we have two grown men climbing up and down rocks making small-talk; and the youngest of the two women insists on making coffee and tea. Oh yes, that's something to be concerned with. Would you not be doing something other than staying in that house?

The first character killed off is the most interesting character in the entire cast. The young Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston loses his life shortly after he snorts up cocaine, although the dope had nothing to do with it. He was poisoned. Gasp. Why on earth would you dump the smart-ass, spoiled jerk right out of the box? Bollocks.

Aidan Turner who was so good in the near glorious Poldark turns in a performance without any depth of character. I sure hope his range isn't as limited as this telefilm provokes us into thinking. What's worse? He strips down again. How many times is he going to get nearly naked? Outside of The Hobbit he has gotten nearly naked in everything he's ever been in. The scene where he walks around in a towel is gratuitously over the top. It's not steamy, or sexy; and it is laughable. I could see this as a Saturday Night Live satire piece. As a matter of fact, if he were known in the States, this would be a segment on SNL.

Some of the technical credits deserve kudos. The design of the overall series is quite admirable (Sophie Becher/Production Designer, James Morrall and Keith Slote/Art Directors and Charlie Lynam/Set Decoration). Several continuity issues prove problematic to those of us who are observant.

Avoid And Then There Were None. It is dull, disappointing and pointless.  And Then There Were None airs on Lifetime Television in March, 2016. Make sure you have something else to do that night. 

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2015

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