If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This was one of the reviews I wrote this month for HeyUGuys that was not published online and so I have decided to put it on Spill's blog space with a rating from Spill's own rating system.
Hustle Season 7 DVD Review
Already reaching it’s eighth series (the first episode aired on Friday), Hustle has been successful with it’s modest number of television ratings and even introducing audiences to some well known British actors including Marc Warren and Ashley Walters.
With the recent series currently airing, the BBC have decided to release series seven on DVD and having not seen any episodes prior to this series, I was really looking forward to sitting down and watching it to see what the success is about. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand why so many people have watched it for as long as they have. While it isn’t the worst thing on television, it’s also not the best either as I thought it is a show with a good idea and concept with very little effort and creativity into it’s approach.
The show focuses on a small gang of friendly con artists who perform cons on a different antagonist in each episode, from corrupt politicians to greedy, rich thieves who have stolen money from good people. Each episode also has them performing a number of tricks and disguises to get back at these villainous people. With these gang members including smart and witty Michael Stone (Adrian Lester), wise old Albert Stroller (Robert Vaughn), young and cocky Sean Kennedy (Matt Di Angelo), middle-aged Ash Morgan (Robert Glenister) and sensible and young Emma Kennedy, these very different characters must work together to do what they feel is right and correct justice to those that they believe deserve it.
What made me very disappointed with this show wasn’t the selection of characters or even the type of antagonists they had, but it was the way that they written each episode. Taking on familiar elements from the Ocean Eleven films, each episode always has them discussing their plans at a very local place (in this case, a bar) and then seeing them take down the bad guy/s by going through an elaborate plan, going through disguises that can even match the A-Team’s costumes and then managing to near-impossibly giving the villain justice for what they have done.
But what made this very disappointing was the fact that they don’t really offer anything new to these stories surrounding con artists and this has no distinctive style as it seems to burrow from other narrative elements from other genres. For example, the second episode sees Emma Kennedy having a relationship with another character and it felt like the writing team used a lot of aspects from the romantic drama storylines: they bump into each other, they discuss a past they once had, both of them fall in love.
Even with them taking traits from other genres, it doesn’t have any great emphasis of style or familiarity as it doesn’t feel the most distinctive because of it’s use of seeming to take other ideas. Although it tries to have some amount of class and high-end style to it, it doesn’t quite make it as they don’t try to do anything new to a formula that people will immediately get after watching an episode. The third episode even had an opportunity to give something new to the formula with a villain who knew who the protagonists are and what they do and yet, the writers still try to use the same storytelling that hasn’t helped it get a higher rating.
Overall, Hustle is a show that seems to know its audience and what they want. It’s just a shame that series seven was surprisingly disappointing and I really wanted to enjoy seeing something new. Fans might enjoy this, but it’s best for newcomers to rent the first season first.
The rating will be affected as well with the lack of any form of bonus features that would have been a bit nice for them to include. I could easily use a joke relating to cons, but I won’t.
Rating: Some 'Ol Bullshit!