Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dates - Episodes 1-3 Reviews

It's Mating Season on Channel 4 and given that we haven't been able to move without trailers to remind us of that fact, at least something good has come out of it with this nine part series.

Dates is the latest show from Skins creator Bryan Elsley with each half hour episode focusing on a particular potential couple. The first three aired between June 10th and 12th and here's an overall review of them.

Episode 1: David & Mia

An interesting opening installment with widowed lorry driver David (Will Mellor) meeting up with a woman named Celeste (Oona Chaplin) in a posh restaurant. Except her name is actually Mia and she's already decided that David isn't worth the effort until his ribbing of her to a waitress motivates her to actually stick with the date. It's a terse date, mainly due to Mia's acidic behaviour towards the more earnest David (who does manage to get some revenge in sussing out her reasons for her bitchy behaviour) but as the episode progressed, we did see a slightly softer side to Mia before she decided to stick to her original convictions about David not being her type. Also, fans of EastEnders will recognise the waitress - Madeline Duggan aka, the first Lauren Branning. Overall, a great opening episode for the series, 8/10.

Episode 2: Jenny & Nick

If Mia was something of a nightmare date, then it's amazing how Nick manages to surpass her in the annoying stakes here. Nick (Neil Maskell) is an annoying, belligerent City Trader who spends most of his date with primary school teacher, Jenny (Sheridan Smith) making snide remarks, lamenting about his hangs up with the opposite sex, generally coming across as a sleazy wretch and then adding insult to injury - he actually shags someone in the bathroom on the pretext of taking a phone call. On the plus side, at least Jenny managed to get the last laugh when she took his wallet and showed him up for the annoying tit that he was. It's a brilliantly awkward date with both Smith and Maskell on fine form too, 8/10.

Episode 3: Mia & Stephen

The third date but second episode for Mia. If the first one was geared more from David's point of view, then this episode is definitely from hers. In this episode, Mia ends up going on a date with surgeon Stephen (Ben Chaplin and no, he's not related to Oona as the Ch4 announcer was keen to point out), a bloke whom she's previously slept with when she was an escort/Celeste and one that Mia wastes no time in reminding of their previous liaison (as well as his appendages). It's a fun, tense episode, almost an intellectual battle between the pair which takes an interesting turn when Mia ends up going to the hospital with Stephen and a patient's death stirs a tender moment from both characters. Easily the best installment from the first three and it's a bit appropriate that Mia is given a Dr Watson alias, considering that she did briefly play a girlfriend of his in A Scandal In Belgravia last year, 9/10.

An impressive slew of installments, nicely linked with some great performances from both Chaplins, Mellor, Smith and Maskell and the theme tune is actually quite luscious and addictive as well. I'm definitely excited to see what the remaining episodes will offer us.

Theme Tune - Hannah Peel - Chloe:

Next week, I'll be doing another review for the fourth and fifth episodes and subsequent reviews for the remaining episodes will also follow in this format.

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