on 25 July 2012
I had no idea what to expect from this series, but after episode 1, I was transfixed, Chloe Sevigney was outstanding as the transgender assassin, what an original, and forward looking series this is.
The whole storyline was gripping, and well carried by all the cast.
As of yet, there is no news on a second series, it would be a big shame if there wasn't one after the cliff hanger ending.
A big hit, certainly not a miss.
In a remote Yorkshire farmhouse, four children grieve for their dead mother. Suddenly there arrives the person she nominated as their guardian - the father of eleven year old Ryan (who never knew the boy existed). What a good basis for strong drama! This is not all. Far from it. Jaw droppingly, Mia turns out to be a contract killer - the money needed for operations to complete her transformation from male to female.
At first such a storyline must seem tacky in the extreme, sensationalism in the worst possible taste.
Instead here is a deeply moving six part series - superbly scripted, impeccably acted, hauntingly filmed in a rugged uncompromising landscape.
Throughout the characterization is multi-layered and strong. Very much around are Mia's gangster boss; a loathsome landlord neighbour (long overdue for comeuppance); a mysterious prowler (a major surprise in store!); likeable Ben, who fancies Mia (and who has adjusting to do).
Dominant, though, is Chloe Sevigny, she mesmerizing as Mia. Well outside her comfort zone, Mia tries to overcome the youngsters' hostility. This is the family she never had (hers a background of abuse in a travelling Irish fair). Gradually she begins to win their trust. The killing continues ("I'm just off to work"), but the money is now to ensure the young ones do not go short.
How long can all this last...?
There are well over one and a half hours of bonuses. Chloe Sevigny describes the difficulties of such a challenging role (apart from the obvious, there was the business of how to handle a gun). Note Paul Abbott's forthright views on family life. Enjoy writer Sean Conway's modest explanation of what he tries to achieve - his scripts economical with words, so much instead conveyed by looks and undercurrents.
Bold, demanding, magnificent. Savour too the lyrical moments. Example? Little Ryan regrets things have to change. Mia reflects that without change, there would be no butterflies. Butterflies in fact have a part to play - magically in a delightful sequence, one in the last episode destined to alter everything.
Again thanks go to fellow reviewers. You alerted me to a superb series I would otherwise have missed.
on 12 March 2013
This was a gripping series with a unique angle - a transgender contract killer. Chloë Sevigny was superb as the killer (Mia) who kept herself fighting fit and yet was able to retain the viewer's belief in her transgender role.
A somewhat dark presentation and not many laughs. Outcast, Mia returns to maintain her rural family after her `ex' dies, coming back not as Dad, but as a woman! Then having to continue to slip away occasionally to fulfil her assassination commitments.
All the acting was excellent with a good script, tight no nonsense writing. One or two niggles but very minor ones when compared with the overall quality of the programme.
Vincent Regan is great as the baddie. In fact, so good that it's hard to believe why the teenage member of the family, Riley (Karla Crome) could ever be in the same room with him, let alone have an affair! Maybe more shades of grey to his character would have strengthened the believability?
The disposal of a body in the final scene was a let down. Were we really expected to believe that two professionals, Mia and Eddie (Peter Wight) would foul up so amateurishly and dispose of a body in such a way that it would inevitably surface? I don't think so.
But it didn't detract from the enjoyment and tension of the show. The cliff hanger ending paves the way for a second series.
I hope so....
on 27 June 2012
Hit & Miss, an original production by Sky and created by Paul Abbott (Shameless), follows Mia (Chloe Sevigny) a pre-op transsexual contract assassin. After returning from a typical assassination, she receives a letter from the only women she ever slept with, telling her that said woman is dying, and that Mia has a son, Ryan (Jorden Bennie). Not long after, Mia finds out that her ex has now passed away, and has made her the legal guardian Ryan, and his three half-siblings. This blended series of assassinations and family drama follows Mia's attempts to become a parent to the unorthodox family, while also trying to hide her job as a professional killer and fend off the vial landlord John, who will stop at nothing to get them, and especially Mia, of his land.
Mia is a deep and well written character, marvellously played by Chloe. Throughout the series we see many aspect of her, such as the turmoil she suffers by being different and in an unaccepting world, which are explored. This works due to Chloe, the writing and the wonderful direction. In the end I did find her a sympathetic character, despite the fact that she is a killer. I would however have liked to know more about her past. Throughout the series we gain little hints of how she came this far, especially during the final episode which explores part of her family life, but we never truly learn how, or exactly why, she became an assassin. I know it is likely they are saving the details for further series, but it would helped just to see a little more depth in to her killing past and the relationship she shares with Eddies.
The support cast is strong, with every actor well cast and most of the characters well written. The child actors are very good, with Jorden Bennie doing a wonderful job in the role of Ryan, while Leonie, the youngest child, adds a touch of innocence to the otherwise bleak outlook of the series. Teenager Levi is well played, but Karla Crome simply stands out as Riley, the eldest of the four siblings, who goes through a huge journey during these six episodes. It's fascinating to watch her relationship grow with Mia.
Peter Wight plays Eddie, Mia's boss and probably closets thing she had to a friend prior to her new family. His very well acted, at times being sympathetic while at others showing a rather nasty side. He is a good character, but as with Mia, I would have liked to know more about his relationship with her and his past. Jonas Armstrong plays the hunky Ben, Mia's romantic interest for the series. He is well acted by Jonas, and goes through an interesting journey as he tries to come to terms with the conflicting feelings he has for Mia and what she is, but I ended up feeling little sympathy for him until the very end of the series.
John makes for a vile villain. He is well played by Vincent Regan, and fills in the antagonist role nicely, but he feels rather fake and at times an unrealistic character. Episode after episode, they show him doing more and more horrible things to Mia and her family, giving him not even one redeeming feature throughout the series. Perhaps that's the point, but I would have liked to have seen him fleshed out a bit more as a character and less of a stereotypical villain.
Some people may find the plot a little improbable, and perhaps they have a point at times, but I found that it was a gritty, dark and realistic series which was written well by Sean Conway. It mixed the family drama and assassination genres well, even if the assassination side of the show lost out in terms of substance. The script pulls no punches ether, both emotionally and violence wise, as we explore the characters, there hopes, turmoil's and relationships. For the most part the pacing of the plot is good, although the pilot episode is a little slow compared to the rest. The assassinations themselves don't disappoint ether. They are usually swift, simple and at times rather bloody. My only real complaint is that, on occasion, certain elements of the plot took a tiny step towards the proposed supernatural. I know it's not the biggest of complaint, and it's only done in a very slight way, but I thought it could have risked damaging the gritty aspects of the show.
The series is filmed in Manchester, and the wonderful locations, ranging from the concrete city to vast, lonely fields and the decrepit farmhouse which the family calls home, really fits and helps the cold and isolated feel of the series. The direction is skilfully handled with style and a lot of empathy, rightly so, on the characters and their inner turmoil. The soundtrack dose its job, but is nothing special or genre changing.
Hit & Miss's blending of genres, and its subject matter, probably won't appeal to everyone unfortunately. Which is a shame, as this series is a wonderful, dark drama and one which fully deserves a second series.