[en]I had the misfortune of catching the first two episodes of [Spooks] Code 9. I thought “well, Spooks was amusing enough, maybe this’ll be alright”.
It starts out with a decent enough premise, Terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb at the start of the Olympic Games in London (killing hundreds of thousands of people). The south coast of England is reduced to a desolate waste ground. The Government is relocated to the North of England along with the population (some now dying of radiation poisoning).
Sounds like a decent setup doesn’t it?
Well, it goes downhill shortly after it becomes a cross between Hollyoaks, Spooks and Skins.
The first episode centres on a plot to kill the Prime Minister. Throughout the show, the Scooby gang go around shaking down their sources, shooting arms dealers in the foot and tracking down the world’s most dangerous hitman through his favourite food order. The most dangerous hitman eventually turns out to be a 15yo hoodie armed with an AK-47 sniper rifle (yes, I know, the AK-47 isn’t a sniper rifle, I’m just telling you stuff from the show).
It eventually turns out that the Prime Minister wasn’t the target after all, the head of this new MI5 unit was! Shock! You didn’t see that coming did you?!
It’s unclear why they felt the need to do this (possibly some ham-fisted attempt to do replicate the effect of killing Lisa Faulkner in the second episode of the grown up version) beyond setting up the series story arc of some big conspiracy.
To be fair, the warning signs were there at the start. One of the main characters says during a selection interview that the reason she wants to be in MI5 is because the terrorists are getting younger. It gave me the rather silly image of two parents discussing pre-school:
“oh Darling, shall we send little Timmy to Osama in Diapers Nursery or the Security Crèche?”
I did also wonder how in this dystopian future, the defenders of freedom looked like they’d just finished a fashion shoot. Defeating terrorists whilst waiting for next season’s clothes to be made.
Watching the characters, none of them seem to be able to deliver any of their lines with any conviction. Paris Hilton could act as a quantum physicist with greater aplomb. The only convincing piece of acting I saw was when the maths geek was put in charge and froze in fear after being confronted by an emergency. I imagined a little voice in his head saying “OMG… they’re wanting me to act! What do I do?!”
My prediction is that by the end of the series, it’ll turn out that there’s a shadowy conspiracy which knew about the nuclear bomb and did nothing so they could subjugate the masses and make money (or something as equally cliché).
All in all, it served to be a pretty rubbish waste of potentially good airtime and concept. It left me wondering “Has BBC 3 actually delivered anything worth watching?”. I couldn’t think of any original programming it’d done which was any good.