Let’s be honest. If you hear the title, you would immediately think nothing of it. That’s understandable considering that Hooten & the Lady is undeniably a silly title, but don’t let that put you off because this series is a ridiculously enjoyable, adventurous, albeit goofy, thrill ride that will probably keep you entertained throughout. Over the past few years, Sky has produced some great series from time to time, but this is one the best out there currently thanks to its sense of scale and spectacle, as well as having a great and compelling character dynamic between its two central protagonists. Many have compared this to Indiana Jones, and it’s not hard to see why, but this feels unique enough to stand on its own as its own unique entity. It has great action throughout, even if that is overshadowed by the sheer size and scale of the series thanks its great location settings. From Rome to Bhutan, from Ethiopia to the Caribbean, this series is great example of how a location can add so much to the story and heighten the situations at hand.
The main reason this series works is down to the riveting duo dynamic of Hooten and Lady Alex, who essentially are like the equivalent of a bickering couple that need each other and fire off each other. In Hooten, we have the gold pursuing, action-fuelled rogue, whilst Alex is much more proper, knowledgeable and scientifically interested. Due to how different in personalities and ideologies both characters are, as well as how frequent these two come into conflict and put at odds with each other, it makes those situations ripe for both great drama and genuine comedy gold without becoming tired and worn. All this is helped enormously thanks to the brilliant casting of these two misfits. As Hooten, Michael Landes is clearly having a ball, embodying the fun, excitement and boisterousness of that character, whilst also managing to convey the vulnerable side as well. However, it’s really Ophelia Lovibond who steals the show as Lady Alex, giving off a performance that’s full of spirit, courage, exuberance and optimism, whilst also making it feel genuinely heartfelt, endearing and likeable.
True, this series won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s certainly understandable why it is some people haven’t warmed up to it, like the perilous situations in each episode having so much comedy relief sprinkled throughout or Hooten and Alex’s distinct personalities and bickering back and forth likely to grate on some people. However, those types of criticisms are ultimately unfair because you need to have levity and humour in dark situations, otherwise you’re mired in depression and angst, plus it helps make the serious moments all the more serious as well as gripping (Hmm. Someone should inform Zack Snyder about that). Also, throughout the series, it would occasionally poke fun at itself and acknowledge the common tropes that would be associated with a series like this, and that, to me at least, is maturity.
Overall, Hooten & the Lady is an enjoyably retro action/adventure series with a great sense of location and spectacle, excellent leads and a comfortingly familiar story that everyone should enjoy. But, this just proves that not everything has to be incredibly grim and serious; sometimes, you need to have a sense of fun and escapism in our lives, and what’s wrong with that?
Dir: Colin Teague, Justin Molotnikov, Andy Hay, Julian Holmes, Daniel O’Hara
Scr: Tony Jordan, James Payne, Richard Zajdlic, Jeff Povey, Karla Crome, Sara Phelps
Starring: Michael Landes, Ophelia Lovibond, Jessica Hynes, Shaun Parkes, Jane Seynour, Jonathan Bailey
Music: Magnus Fiennes
Number of Episodes: 8
Episode Run time: 47 mins
Hooten & the Lady is out now on DVD