The Deep

2 stars


6th September 2010

I was excited about the BBC’s recent mini-series The Deep. What could be better than a good ol’ fashioned adventure in the mysterious ocean depths? After all, it’s been years since The Abyss (long before Cameron sold his soul for 21 grams of Unobtainium), and I could even overlook my irrational aversion to James Nesbitt. Well, I’ll tell you what could be better; paint drying. Call me Comatose; this was 20,000 leagues of boring.

With tighter writing The Deep might have been a solid two-parter, but instead we’re subjected to five tedious episodes. In the not-very-dramatic dramatic opening scientists on the Hermes submarine are doing some science-y type things (something to do with hydrothermal vents or some such), when a large and unknown object looms overhead. Things go bump, some screams are scrum and after the ho-hum credits we learn they all vanished without a trace.

Some months, later Captain Minnie Driver takes her team to the same location to find the Hermes black box so anyone who cares can find out what happened, and so James Nesbitt can get over his dead wife. She was involved in the ill-fated first under-water excursion so it’s personal. The Deep makes the mistake of confusing hackneyed personal drama with actual characterization, which might work if the actors didn’t seem as unconvinced as the audience. Nesbitt doesn’t seem at all bothered by the demise of his poor wife and there’s more heat coming from the ice in my freezer than from Minnie Driver and Goran ‘Dr. Kovac’ Visnjic’s ‘passionate’ affair.

I’d go into the plot details but I think if I just say ‘Russia, America, oil, renewable energy, magic glowy bugs’ you can fill in the blanks. At least the aimless plot saves us from the threat of any major moral pontificating on superpowers and global warming and toilet facilities on submersible vessels. In this regard it was lucky the writing was lazy. It’s just a shame the laziness spread; poor characters, plodding storyline, questionable science (just because its science fiction doesn’t mean we can be fobbed off with any old spiel) and indifferent acting. Overall, a lacklustre mini-series.

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