by Ryan Pollard
Wow… Who would’ve thought a crime drama with this much talent would be so utterly boring! Paranoid is a series that constantly recycles every single cliché in the book, and quite why this show lasts for eight episodes is beyond me. There’s barely enough plot to fit four episodes, let alone eight. But even if it did have a compelling narrative, it would still feel like a real chore to get through thanks to the unlikeable, unbearable and obnoxious cast of characters driving it. That makes it all the more heartbreaking considering that there’s a great solid cast backing things up including the likes of Robert Glenister, Indira Varma, Dino Fetscher, Lesley Sharp, and many more.
The real problem is that this extremely talented cast are given so little to work with, with constant lousy writing plaguing the series throughout that only ends up making the serious, heartfelt and dramatic moments come off as sub-par. The slow and plodding pacing is no help either, which means it takes its sweet time before the conspiracy case plot surrounding the sinister pharmaceutical corporation and Danny Huston’s Nick Waingrow actually starts. However, by the time that comes into play, you pretty much know how the whole thing’s going to end up, and that results in the lack of tension or anticipation. Shows like Silent Witness, Marcella or Broadchurch (its first series anyway) have great pace to them and always manage to keep their audiences on the edge of their seats, but for all its faults, this series will fail to hold your attention for very long.
The three main characters themselves are all annoying in their own unique quirky trait. Bobby is suffering from an unknown case of PTSD, as well as panic attacks, which cause him to make exceptionally questionable decisions. Nina is bipolar and is constantly switching between being verbally straight-forward with colleagues, to interrupting highly critical conversations. Add to that a constant whine, moan and bitch about being single, wanting kids and an unconvincing on-off relationship with Alec. Alec himself is distant due to having serious mummy issues. Each of these characters manages to be even more unbearable and annoying than the last, with Nina being the most excruciating, which is a real shame as Indira Varma is a highly talented actress who deserves so much better than this. It’s baffling as to why Alec wants to pursue a relationship with her when Anjli Mohindra’s Megan is so much more likeable and charming (plus the fact that Mohindra has kicked far more alien butt than Varma did!).
Despite having a lot going for it, Paranoid is one of the worst crime dramas to hit our TV screens in a long while. Its problems are immense; atrocious dialogue, terrible pacing, obvious predictability, and wasting talented actors by giving them unbearable characters that you care so little about. If, by some miracle, there’s a second series, then I will eat my own shoes.
Dir: Mark Tonderai, Kenny Gleenan, John Duthie
Scr: Bill Gallagher
Starring: Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Dino Fetscher, Neil Stuke, Lesley Sharp, Christiane Paul, Michael Maloney, Kevin Doyle, Danny Huston
Music: Ben Onono
Country: UK, Germany
Number of Episodes: 8
Episode Run time: 45mins
Paranoid is out on DVD 30th January.