A Mad Northern Life – Brassic: Season One (TV Review)

Rating:

Boy, who knew that Northern life could be this hectic? This particular hectic series of young Northern hooligans trying to get by whilst evading a powerful businessman comes courtesy of lead/co-creator Joseph Gilgun and co-creator Danny Brocklehurst. Together they have created a fun, stylish series that takes heavy influences from Trainspotting and Shameless yet evolves and matures into its own creature.

The notion of watching a bunch of ragtag hooligans getting involved in shady businesses for six episodes might sound like an overly-indulgent boyish fantasy with laddish humour, and while there’s an element of that here, it’s not executed in a tired, obnoxious manner.

Somehow, this series manages to have its own unique brand of charm and cleverness that keeps you entertained throughout, and by the end, you are actually intrigued and concerned with what’s happening to these characters.

By all accounts, these characters should be unlikeable with their ridiculous, petty, jack-the-lad crime nonsense, but Gilgun and Brocklehurst miraculously have these characters work their way into your heart, making you feel for them when they are at their lowest of lows or when they’re trying their best and hardest to rise above the lives they currently find themselves stuck in. There are discussions of loyalty amongst friends, leading new and better lives beyond crime, family bonds that aren’t biologically tied down, and so forth, and all of them are handled in a well-mannered and mature, yet there’s plenty of humour included that helps create the perfect balance of comedy and reality.

Also breathing life into this whole show is its solid cast of performers with Joseph Gilgun leading the pack and delivering a knockout performance as the bipolar thief who lives in the woods. Gilgun adds three-dimensional layers to his character that has you understanding and empathising with him despite him getting involved in unfortunate circumstances.

Even though he can get his gang involved in some of the most ridiculous of situations, you can see he has a deep loyalty to his friends, which adds to the humanity of his character, plus you can sense that Gilgun has brought a little element of himself into the role. Special mention should also be given to Michelle Keegan as the flawed heroine who, even though has made some mistakes of her own, is the one who grounds the team, trying to make each one more level-headed, while also attempting to break free from her old life to find a better one for both herself and her son. Keegan sells this brilliantly, and it’s also worth noting that Dominic West is simply hilarious as the drug-addled doctor with a weird obsession with women’s knees.

Brassic is a pleasant surprise of a TV series that’s funny yet heartfelt with quirky yet charming characters with deep-rooted humanity that helps ground the series in a mature way. While there are plenty of antics and escapades to keep us entertained, the drama that’s also present is compelling enough that you want to watch more. It’s a show that’s rough around the edges, but definitely worth watching, and here’s hoping the forthcoming second series can match the first’s in terms of humour and drama.

Dir: Daniel O’Hara, Jon Wright

Scr: Danny Brocklehurst, Alex Ganley

Starring: Joseph Gilgun, Michelle Keegan, Damien Molony, Tom Hanson, Aaron Heffernan, Ryan Sampson, Parth Thakerar

Year: 2019

Country: UK

Number of Episodes: 6

Episode Run time: 45 mins

Brassic: Season One will be released on DVD on September 30th.

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