Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Strike Back Series 1

Strike Back Series 1
This is a programme that has currently aired three series and is about to show a fourth. However I've just re-watched the first series so will portray my views on it in this review. I remember loving this when it was on TV back in 2010 but since watching the next two series I actually found this only half as enjoyable at times.
The second series was the best and having seen the cast and the programme overall develop and improve over the last couple of series' the first series doesn't seem as good. It's packed with action and drama but without the same effect as the next two series. Firstly, it doesn't have as many episodes (6) whereas series 2 and 3 have 10. Secondly, some of the banter in the show is a little cheesy. The banter later on when Richard Armitage (who is very good as the main character) leaves the show and is replaced by Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, is much better.
The episodes are split into two-parters, each episode lasting 90 minutes. And in the third episode the main character besides Armitage is just awful. He's mentally unstable, which can work if it's done right but isn't done so here, annoying rather than entertaining and not heroic, likeable or relatable enough to be a good 'sidekick' in the episode. He is partially villainous but not in a good way, he hasn't got the charisma to pull off being a good villain or the necessary showing of pure evil. Overall that episode is a bit corny with a couple of real dooshbag characters in it. The other two episodes are great but overall the series isn't as good as the one which follows it.
The positives of series 1 are that it is certainly action-packed, it has a good back story which keeps the intrigue going and Richard Armitage is a very good leading character. He carries off the role as 'super-soldier' very well; big, strong, tough killing machine but with compassion and the resourcefulness that is such a key feature of the action hero. The action is explosive, constant and thrilling and the back-story is effective in keeping the story and the intrigue going, rather than it just being individual stories with little depth running through the series.
However the weaknesses are the affore-mentioned 'sidekick' in the third episode and the head of the team, 'Collison' who is an OK character, but is 'OK' good enough? He again lacks charisma and I don't think they utilize the back story around him enough. (Spoiler alert) Armitage's character takes the blame and the severe punishment for the deaths of three of their team in the first episode when in actual fact Collison killed them and has now, 8 years later, gone on to be head of the team while Armitage has been dishonourably discharged and disgraced. They could utilize this more by making him more of a bastard (to put it bluntly). He does do the odd bastardy thing but he also does the odd good thing and it's like they're undecided as to how they're portraying him. A real dick of a boss would add more emotion in the audience than a boss whose half dick, half goodie.
In conclusion, the series is a good series certainly worth watching so if you get the chance to, I'd advise you take it. The action is so constant and thrilling that it will keep you entertained, at least if you are a liker of things such as Die Hard, James Bond and 24.
I'd rate it at 7.5 out of 10.
 I'm going to watch series 2 shortly, so will review that in the coming weeks. And as a little heads up, even though Armitage is a very good main character, the main characters (Sullivan Stapleton and PhilipWinchester) are even better in series 2.

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