The Five. An Original Sky Production. A One-Off Review of the first Two Episodes. Minor spoilers only. On Sky 1 Channel in the UK Fridays @ 9pm two episodes back to back. The Five is written by Harlen Corben.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Five.
TV Description:
“Four lifelong friends are forced to revisit a tragedy from their past.”

The Five

Episode One.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Little boy to a group of children:
“But I don’t want to go!”

We see the four friends all grown up. All fairly tortured.

It’s really unclear what country The Five is set in.

Everyone has English accents. So it’s either England or Australia.

All the friends have fairly perfect lives. Great shelf units.

One is officially bohemian. One is a Detective. A murder Detective.
Of course he is.

One of the friends is the brother of the missing boy. That they left in the forest. When they were young.

The Detective’s father has dementia.

So everything is very beautifully shot in the usual glowy deep blue, greens, bright reds. In Close-up and slow motion.

Then things start getting serious. And engrossing.
But they’re never gonna turn the lights on. You can tell.

Review of Episodes One and Two.

So it is annoying me, I must admit, that you really cannot tell where the drama is set. There are no real clues: there is the countryside, the houses are brick, there are pub/ Public Houses. It’s undefinable.

Everyone talks in English accents, the Police station is called Westbridge. The police cars could be English or Australian. Who knows. Maybe it doesn’t matter. But I find this question hanging over the drama distracting. As in I am looking for answers (clues) to this question distracting.

Yes-maybe it doesn’t matter-it’s a generic world. But myself I would have liked the matter out of the way early on-I’m supposed to be looking for clues in the drama: not clues as to where it’s set.

I have resolved that it’s definitely not meant to be England. Since an off-hand remark by the murder Detective to two guys in the squad room-would simply not be allow2ed. In a British setting. he would probably be up for dismissal. (or at the very least some sort of severe castigation for his thought/speech crime)

The Five is an Original Sky Production. Which is interesting. And unusual. A new thing. However it is a bit of a struggle reconciling the idea of Sky 1-the channel I secretly think of as the man channel-home to Legends, Arrow and other such fun and not so fun series-with original productions.

The Five so far does sadly to my mind, sacrifice substance and cogency of plot-for style. Yes, it’s all very beautiful and arty. But the dialogue is sparse snippets. And we leap from scene-to scene with speed.

It is strange indeed, for someone like me who loves colours and effects in film-to find this whole gloopy palette in which The Five takes place to be irksome. But it is. Because most of the time you can hardly see. Except for brief forays into the daylight.

The experience is like being whizzed through an art gallery at speed-on an electric chair.

Still, by the time you get to episode two, somehow the whole thing works. As superficial as the characters and the whizzing quickly past superficial cliches-are.

Something explosive and dramatically odd has happened right at the end of episode one. Odd as in an unusually early dramatic surprise. And halfway through episode one-we are already beginning to suspect at least one of the four friends.

Oh yes and speaking of art galleries this must be the first case I have ever noticed in drama-of pictures hanging just above the skirting board-in rows. Ascending upwards.

So with some great difficulty: i have discovered that The Five is filmed in England. Well you could have fooled me. It all seemed far too lovely. I mean where did they find all that greenery?

One minute we’re in practically a National Park or forest. The next the grass ends right at the sea. Or rushing river. With wrought iron railings.

Where on earth is it meant to be? This was really annoying me. Especially now after watching and finding out the setting is not Australia as I had decided. Quite happily.

Oh yes- that is what kept throwing me- it was far too consistently sunny. All this must be because I live in the city. OK I promise I will stop this now. Most definitely.

Apart from the brief forays outside into the now (I have learnt) generically glaring sunshine: the rest of the action takes place as described- in a gloopy stew of blues and greens, bright reds.

All this is sort of soothing to the eyes. Like visual jelly. Which gives a strangely soporiphic effect overall. Like sipping a comforting Ovaltine: mixed unknowingly with acid.

Oh yes, I meant to say the rest of the setting of The Five is the rundown parts of the city, all dark alleyways, pubs and rows of brick buildings. Houses and shops. One of the characters runs a home for runaways.

Yet next thing we know we’re are in gigantic box houses with glass roofs. You know the sort people with enormous budgets build on those programmes. And they all look the same. When they could build anything. Of any shape. They always build boxes. Made mostly of glass. But I digress.

Yes, there is a chase in an underground car park or railway arch: which is chock full of empty caravans. Yep-caravans. Because caravans are so popular in England. Not.

This caravan scene-all bathed in beautiful but ever murky blue-is what kept me thinking The Five was in Australia. That and the sizzling sunlight.

No-it’s not fair objectively speaking-to reject the credibility of place in a drama. ‘Cause it’s a drama. I know.

Yet why not let the setting be ostensibly England and use something real. Rather than generic. We view a muddled, mixed up pastiche from everywhere and nowhere instead.

It did stretch the credibility of the drama that one of the men friends of the four (the missing child Jesse being the 5th) runs a hostel for runaway children. On his own.

Plus the two forensic guys are shown blatantly ogling the young female Detective. Like the un-named game of Snog, Marry, Avoid the two somewhat dopey Detectives play in the car: these interludes seemed odd and outdated. In a current drama. Unless these scenes were meant to be funny. Could be.

Sometimes the level of believably in The Five reaches ludicrous. As in of ludicrously low proportion. For me anyway. Yet with a touch of horror inherent there too. Maybe The Five will improve. It already has over two episodes.

However the two Detectives have just blown all their advantage in a case and their cover too. By just turning up and letting the suspect know-that they are suspicious of him.

So yes I think they just blew their case and their cover too and probably sealed someone’s fate, dangerously so. And sent them towards their doom..


Just where is The Five meant to be? Since One minute we are in the fabulous house in the country. Only trouble is-just three minutes later-by one character jogging-we are back in the rundown part of town like it was Gotham City.


It is myself I am correcting about the four friends as I originally wrote five friends in the episode one notes.


Of course Sean Bean is incandescently good in Legends on Sky 1. As he always is. The first series of Legends and Arrow have both been reviewed here on this blog. There are several reviews here on this blog on Ross Kemp’s Extreme world Series.


Snog, Marry Avoid.
Snog, Marry Avoid? is an old British TV show.


Just where is The Five meant to be? Since One minute we are in the fabulous house in the country. Only trouble is-just three minutes later-by one character jogging-we are back in the rundown part of town like it was Gotham City.

Posted by Clarissima at 04:53
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