White Lotus – 7; Unforgotten – 8

We watched both six-parters in tandem as they were released Sunday nights on, respectively, HBO and PBS. As usual, the American series was populated by broad caricatures, while the British presented complex and real people. White Lotus can be forgiven its lack of subtlety, as it aimed for social satire, and a week at the Four Seasons Maui is not the setting you’d choose for reality. In fact, the entitled Shane Patton was such a melodramatic villain one almost hissed in enjoyment each time he appeared. On the flip side, some of the relationship subplots, of which I counted ten, were cringe-worthy, notably those involving Tanya. Pretty much all the relationships taxed the imagination, which meant that the viewing pleasure depended on how much one enjoyed a particular character, or the scenes of Hawaii. For the record, my favorites were the luscious Rachel and Armond, the general manager who seemed to have been trained at Fawlty Towers.
One thing both series shared was expressive faces of people under stress. In Unforgotten, however, they were nuanced characters, most of whom had the normal quotient of good qualities to go along with the dark secret in their pasts. And the ancillary problems they faced in their current lives were recognizable: a parent with dementia, a child-to-be diagnosed with down’s syndrome, a mortgage payment to be met. Nicola Walker’s Cass was a suitably charismatic lead detective, and her team was remarkably devoid of the drama we’d come to know with the crew in Spiral. Unlike the vacationers in Hawaii, I’d be happy to spend more time with this group.
As for the respective plots, both shows opened, per usual, with evidence of a murder, the details of which, when revealed, were rather disappointing. Coincidentally, at the conclusion of both series the lead actor had been killed, in a way that was completely tangential to the main thrust of each story. What we took away from both was our experience with the cast of characters: Mark and Nic, Olivia and Paula, Shane and Rachel; and Liz, Fiona, Ram and Dean, Cass and Sunil.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *