We need more shows like HOOTEN AND THE LADY.
Remember when shows could be fun? Like, ones without superheroes? We’ve got some amazing TV out there, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but it’s nice when a show can remember it’s a show and just have fun with it. It’s what I thought Agent Carter got exactly right (a Marvel show, but not exactly a superhero one), and why I love it so much, and this has some of the same feel as far as thoroughly enjoying itself as a piece of entertainment. Let’s call it a mix of Indiana Jones and screwball comedy, which works surprisingly well!
First we have the eponymous lady, Lady Alexandra Lindo-Parker, or Alex for short.
The show opens with her trying to convince the panel at the British museum to fund her expedition to find explorer Percy Fawcett’s camp and grave site. Here, and throughout the entire episode, I love how excited she gets over history and new discoveries. Over and over it takes a second for it to occur to her that other people might only be after the artifacts for the money – to her, discoveries are worth more than money could ever be. She genuinely loves what she does, and so she goes into action: going from museum curator to adventurer, she sets off to begin the expedition to the Amazon, risking her life for something she doesn’t even know exists.
Here’s where a wrench gets thrown in her plans – Hooten, an American jewel thief whose first name I’m sure we’ll learn at some point, tries to steal a skull from a native tribe she is asking for directions. Lo and behold, he gets them strung up and ready to be tortured. Luckily, Alex comes up with a cunning plan: have Hooten challenge their strongest warrior to a fight. Hooten, of course, won’t say no.
Just look at that picture; that’s really all you need to know about what kind of show this is. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced – almost too much so, as the first act goes by in the blink of an eye! No sooner have Alex and Hooten been kidnapped by the native tribe than they have escaped and been set free, on their way to Fawcett’s campsite, which they find the next day. My one real criticism of this show would be the pacing; it goes by so fast it’s hard to feel like any of it has sunk in. Two-thirds of the way through the episode we’ve already found El Dorado – where do you go from there?
The characters also suffer a bit from the fast pacing. There’s no time to really get to know them, thus they end up feeling a bit thinly drawn. Still, the actors work very well together – I’d say the one to watch out of the two of them is Ophelia Lovibond as Alex; as fast as the show is going, she puts real emotion into her performance, and you can believe that Alex truly believes in her ideals, and you want her to succeed. Hooten has that rough-around-the-edges rogue thing down to a T (although a bit less of a jerk than the usual Harrison Ford-esque characters, which is appreciated), but Alex is the true hero. She’s courageous, she’s intelligent (I applauded when it’s revealed she took off a piece of the engine so Hooten couldn’t steal the boat overnight), and she’s fighting to preserve history when everyone else just wants money.
That, of course, puts her in an interesting conflict with Hooten, notorious thief.
The dialogue between them is reminiscent of screwball comedy, with its quick pacing and cutting humor, a la Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, etc. It seems they may be setting up Hooten and Alex as a couple – but I kind of hope they don’t. The actors work well off each other and have good chemistry, but for a show that feels so fun and fresh, it would just be pretty predictable and stale for the intelligent, independent woman to be tied down to the womanizer. I’m not saying fix Hooten, he is what he is, but there’s really nothing wrong with two characters who happen to be a man and a woman just being a couple of badass adventurers. No When Harry Met Sally… here, please – wrong kind of comedy.
Overall, it’s just nice to have a show not about war or people fighting each other – it’s about adventure, and discovery, and finding the fun in both history and television again. As I said earlier, I hope the pacing slows down a little in the next few episodes so we can really appreciate this show and get to know its characters a little better.
As per most British television, we have a short season – eight episodes, enough to take us out of summer and into fall. Next week we will be heading to Rome – I’m excited to see Alex and Hooten take on the Mafia!
Also, any show that plays out on “Wicked Ones” by Dorothy is awesome in my book.
Season 1, Episode 1 (S01E01)
Hooten and the Lady airs Thursdays at 9PM on The CW
Cailin is a screenwriter and an aspiring TV writer. When not writing, she’s busy convincing random passersby that Firefly was the best show ever, converting her co-workers into Whovians, and waiting for the next season of Sherlock.
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Cailin Coane | Contributor