Better TV Review: Leila Farzad and Andrew Buchan star in BBC1's new police drama, which is okay, but could do Better
The first episode of new BBC cop drama Better (BBC1, Mon, 9pm) was bit of a letdown, to be honest – slow, exposition-heavy and dull.
Fortunately, all the episodes are streaming on iPlayer, so if you go straight into episode two you find Better does get, well, better.
I suppose that is one justification for a binge watch – if you can jump straight into the next episode, you don’t spend a week deciding not to bother making an appointment to view.
And this tale of female DI Lou Slack (Leila Farzad) who battled her way up the greasy pole in the Yorkshire plod with the help of inside info from a local drug dealer repays a binge.
This, however, is a two-way relationship, and as Slack rises through the ranks, so does her criminal counterpart Col McHugh (Andrew Buchan), as she tips him off about police inquiries into his business.
Then a near-tragedy results in Lou deciding the time has come to end her corrupt partnership, bringing Col to justice, and presumably her blood pressure down to normal.
That first episode takes its time setting all this up, and the catalyst for Lou’s change of heart could be reached a lot quicker.
Buchan, meanwhile, seems a bit too nice to be playing a drug kingpin with links to the continent, while his henchmen seem either ready for their bus pass, or toweringly stupid.
If the script trades a little too heavily on cop drama cliches – “There’s only one way out. He’s got go down,” Lou tells her husband – it does ratchet up the tension as Lou’s attempts to get out from under only succeed in getting her in deeper.
In the end, it’s a decent watch, but it could do better.
The Gold (BBC1, Sun, 9pm) is a worthy replacement for Happy Valley, if a little different in tone. Telling the story of the Brinks-Mat robbery of millions in gold bullion from a warehouse at Heathrow, it’s got a feel of a caper movie to it, even if the real robbery and its aftermath were a bloodier affair. Fast-paced and more than a little fun.
Watching things with my kids is increasingly rare, what with YouTube, Tik Tok and streaming, but my 12-year-old and I made an appointment to view Lockwood & Co (Netflix), and adaptation of a series of Young Adult fantasy novels. Funny, emotional, just scary enough, it was a real triumph.