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From Hero To Two Zeroes
on 29 December 2011
I agree with the reviewer who described this series as 'marmite'. A 3rd series has been commissioned, so clearly I am in a minority with this negative review. But, having really enjoyed series 1, I found Project Dawn a major disappointment (though I did make myself watch to the predictable - and long drawn out - end of the DVD).
Anyone who knows me will say I am definitely no prude and so I didn't really find the (many and explicit) sex and violence scenes from series 2 overly offensive. But there was a definite marked contrast between the two series in terms of such content. Series 1 was certificated 15, with nothing particularly sexually explicit (unless you count a few male topless scenes - most of which had nothing to do with sex - as explicit) and had surprisingly little in terms of OTT violence. However, series 2 was deservedly rated 18, with a lot of totally pointless sex scenes (with many different naked women) and gratuitous violence that made even my not at all squeamish stomach churn a little.
But it was not the gratuitous and explicit sex and violence that spoiled my enjoyment so much. The first aspect that spoilt it was the complete lack of continuity between series 1 and 2 with only the lovely scenery remaining intact from series 1. At the end of the brilliant series 1, we saw Collinson's departure and Porter seemingly trapped without help or ammunition. Yet in series 2 Porter is back and on a new mission with no explanation of how he got home or how long in the future we now are.
Additionally, the entire female support cast from series 1 (Layla, Danni and Porter's daughter, Alex/Lexie) have vanished with no explanation of where they have gone, never to be mentioned again. All we have to replace them female-wise (other than the many naked women) was Collinson's female replacement (yet another ball-breaking 'fiesty' woman role).
Furthermore, I have to mention the acting in series 2. Clearly changes had to be made due to Richard Armitage filming The Hobbit. But, even the fact that the powers above felt that they needed two new male leads to replace him speaks volumes in my opinion. And the two characters who replaced his character, John Porter, whilst tolerably acted (if you like a testosterone filled 10 hours of unrealistic nonsense, OTT sex, violence and swearing) I felt were very weakly written stereotypical caricatures of a boy's own fantasy of military life.
And finally, there was the manner and swiftness of John Porter's departure. This is the man who, singlehandedly rescued people and got himself out of major, death defying scrapes in series 1. Yet within a few minutes of series 2 starting, he is dead in an extremely brutal way while his supposed rescuers seem more interested in extra-curricula activities than getting their comrade home safely. After his death, the remaining 9+ hours were (in my opinion) aimed solely at the male 'I want to be James Bond and get the girls, guns and glory' fantasy end of the viewing audience.
It felt to me that with Project Dawn the writers have simply taken the worst parts of Ultimate Force and the forgettable last series of Spooks and just added some unnecessary explicit sex and violence to the mix. Which in my opinion is a great shame.