Mad Dogs (2015–2016)
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I'm rather baffled why the U.S. has a compulsion to remake films and, as here, series and doesn't just present its audiences with the original. The remakes are often quite good, but why remake them? But anyhow...
I've seen all three seasons of the original Brit version of Mad Dogs and I can't recommend it highly enough for often very funny sly humour, suspense, intrigue and sheer entertainment. And I'm happy to report that this remake is almost as good - at least in the first few episodes - most probably because the Brit creator, Cris Cole, is again at the helm. That is a relief after seeing so many films (from all around the world) which eventually let you down. As I say the humour, very British humour I have to say, does travel well, and might have you laughing out loud on occasion, but it is far more than just a black comedy. The first episode starts off slowly and quietly, then 42 minutes in . . . I can recommend this. The casting is excellent, the dialogue natural and the story quite bizarre. Don't hesitate, please, treat yourselves.
POSTSCRIPT: For the US market, the producers have tinkered a little - well, tinkered quite a lot - syncopating the original plots and expanding the story, introducing new characters and, it has to be said, in the process they created something of a different animal. Whereas in the original British version the humour - very black and often unobtrusive - was a continual thread throughout (until the two- episode finale which was something of a letdown) and formed the series backbone, for the US the humour is more or less abandoned as a central trope and the series becomes more of an action piece. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does lose a little of its edge as a result. But then it is intended for a different market and culture.
Another difference is that despite the utterly bizarre plot twists and very silly situations the four characters find themselves in, in the original version it all somehow holds together well - it's as though they are caught in a one-way system and there's no turning back. Conversely the new version increasingly doesn't quite hold together: there are several points where the four could all have disentangled themselves quite well by a word here and there, and that they didn't has more to do with making a TV series than anything else.
The twists don't grow out of the situations the four find themselves in - and their very stupid decisions - but from the necessity to keep the story going and interesting. That's rather a shame, as it loses something rather neat. It also becomes as it goes on, plotwise, something of a mess - folk get around Belize with an ease and at a speed which is only possible on TV. But such quibbles won't, I'm sure, disturb your average US viewer. The Brit version, though didn't take the easy way out and just kept it all going, following its own logic, which was some achievement. The final episodes here see everything tied up a little too neatly which is a shame and out of keeping with the original wackiness. Sad to say the US version doesn't quite convince
However, despite those drawbacks your average viewer should enjoy this, but I must stress that for a real treat and a rather tighter piece of work you should seek out the British version which doesn't quite cut corners so easily.
After seeing the pilot...I was blown away. The quality of the show is excellent! Drama, Comedy, Sex, Mystery, Intrigue and more!
- It is well filmed - The sound is great - The actors on spot on! Nothing seems fake, it all seems very real.
The story is easy to follow yet mysterious and intriguing. You want to know more and more as it progresses.
This pilot gives you that feeling you had when you first watched a show and were instantly hooked after one episode. We all have shows like that, this is one of them.
WATCH THE PILOT and I guarantee you that your jaw will drop and you will say, WHAT just happened?!?
I was not expecting the end sequence of events at all, what the heck was with the head mask? Who is the lady introduced at the end? These questions need answering! I don't think I have been so gripped by a pilot episode since the first episode of Breaking Bad or Dexter, and look how great those shows turned out! :)
This is painful to watch. These are the stupidest people I have ever watched on screen. Making idiotic decisions. And not having a whit of sense between them.
I had watched the first episode during pilot week and wasn't impressed, but I was hopeful that it might get better. Watched the second and third episodes and just can't go any further.
Stupidity that stuck out to me (heavy spoilers if you care):
* You bury a person all of two feet below the ground? Have you never seen any kind of a movie or TV show, any of you? Haven't you at the very least heard people talking about "six feet under" and wondered, "why so deep"? Sheesh. That is just stupid.
* The money. Why did they take it with them off the boat instead of leaving one or two behind to guard it while the others went to get a fuse? Seems simple enough. Then, when they are on shore with the money, their great plan for getting that back to the boat's owner is to rent a car and put the money in the trunk and mail the key to the guy? Are they idiots? Why not put the money back in the same hold where the drugs had been, since they were returning the boat to the marina?
* The guy pulls out a big blue fuse. Big. Blue. Fuse. You go to the store and buy a gallon's worth of assorted color fuses of various sizes. Really? NONE of these morons remembered that the fuse was blue? NONE of them has ever worked on anything with a fuse to know that they are color coded and come in only a handful of sizes? And they replace it with a yellow one ... which will either blow prematurely or not be effective as a fuse (the latter is fine unless there is another fault which would allow the electrical fault to blow something much harder to replace, but the former would leave the boat stranded at a random place in the ocean).
* The stupid personal bickering, not when there is nothing else happening , but when timing is critical. It was tiring. Maybe having watched the first episode so long ago I'd lost whatever connection to these characters that might have been made there, but honestly, I don't know enough about them and don't identify with them at all and so don't care about their stupid squabbling. Get on with the story.
* The girl needing financial advice. It took all of ten minutes to help her out. They couldn't figure out how to do that? Did the two of them really need to leave the house together instead of one of them going back while the other guy took care of the girl so there wouldn't be additional issues from her?
* They saran wrap the "cat" to a wooden chair, suspend the chair from a rope, and think that is going to be secure? I mean, come on. It wouldn't take but maybe a half hour to smash the chair against the sides of the well and free himself. I'm assuming that that is what happened, because I can't go on to the next episode, even running the background. It is just too stupid.
The first episode was intriguing and well, there is some of the most graphic violence ever filmed, but these guys might be the dumbest, worst drivers in the history of the world. I am now seven episodes in and just want them all caught. I should be rooting for someone, but there is not a character to like in the bunch.
I would add details, but I want to do this without spoilers. Just trust me, without the 4K filming, this has nothing to offer!
Only this time around we're in Puerto Rico (not Mallorca) and by that I mean 'Belize' of course. Regardless, the setting is gorgeous. A welcome escape into a perfect world that unravels into madness a short while into the pilot. Thanks to a solid cast, perfectly mismatched to never solve a single situation with good common sense, you'll follow their downhill adventure - which will make you either yell at the screen in frustration, or laugh out loud - depending on how you watch a show like this: as drama with a sense of humor, or pure comedy.
The predecessor of this show is still going strong at the time of this little review, so we can safely assume that there is enough madness in the book to keep this brilliant set of characters busy for a few more seasons.
Better than expected with interesting and unpredictable story lines - another strong show in Amazon's line-up.
The show starts out very intriguing. You get the feeling that something isn't quite 100% right. Its 4 different friends traveling to Belize to visit a friend of theirs who is retired, and very, very rich. He has a mansion, a private beach, the works, but there's something mysterious about him (milo, played by Billy Zane). I wont spoil anything but ill just say that the setup is subtle but incredibly well done.
You'll find yourself at some point absolutely glued to the TV, captivated. wow is all i can say. i really don't want to get into a detailed review because i don't want to spoil anything. Just know that this is worth an incredible watch. I am impatiently waiting for the release of the rest of the first season. Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Terriers, Chicago code) is a master of his craft I expect nothing short of a masterpiece.
The problem is all that happens to move the plot forward is 100% dependent that the main characters are incredibly stupid and cowardly, but beyond that inane fact... all the strangers they meet seem to know this before getting to know them and treat them as such. In the second episode literally THREE times before the show was halfway through someone they just met (1 a couple hours the night before, 2 immediately) does something you would NEVER do someone you don't know, barely know, or are doing business with and... ignoring them, need their boss happy... but beyond that they just take it.
These bumblers can't figure out how to deal with or get out of any situation where anyone is being aggressive, they just tuck their tail between their legs and accept it, furthermore the actions they do take are often boneheaded and just get them into more problems. Not to mention why is everyone they interact with so aggressive and overbearing towards them.
If the ONLY way you can get your characters in to situations is by making them idiotic and fearful and somehow inexplicably everyone they meet treats them as such you don't have a good show, or premise for a show; it's just bad writing. HUNDREDS of shows get their characters into hot water and tricky situations without relying on the audience to just accept they are the stupidest group of businessmen, lawyers, or what have you on the planet.
Wikipedia - Mad Dogs (TV series)
"Mad Dogs is a British black comedy and psychological thriller television series, written and created by Cris Cole, that began airing on Sky1 on 10 February 2011, and ended on 29 December 2013 after four series and 14 episodes"
Which brings me back to the advertising on Amazon. This is billed as an "Amazon Original Series"....WHAT PART OF IT IS ORIGINAL?
Are we to assume that because Americans haven't seen it before, it is original?
However-Mad Dogs nailed it!!
Intriguing plot kept my attention throughout the entire episode, while trying to figure out what might be coming next/what direction they might go with the series.
Fantastic cast!!! Owning their roles in the first episode.
When can we expect the full first season to be released?!
Leaving us hanging, Amazon!
Must see more - STAT!! :)
The drama. In most of these kinds of shows/movies the main characters are very shallow, with their main characteristics serving to make us laugh. Here, though, each character is completely three dimensional and fleshed out over the 10 episodes with back-stories (without flashbacks thankfully) and real traits and flaws. This is a drama first and foremost and the show never forgets that, effectively building up tension in every episode. We quickly learn that these friends perhaps don't like each other as much as they appear to and we get to watch the relationships evolve so organically over a long period - thanks in part to this being a 10 episode show rather than a 2 hour film. Even the aforementioned cat is given enough story for the viewer to care about his character. The acting from the main cast is flawless and convincing and managed to hold my attention throughout the entire season.
The comedy. I believe this is why opinions on the show are divided. This isn't a typical American comedy show about funny characters making witty comments at each other to make us giggle our way through 10 episodes. The characters play everything out with straight faces and, in fact, comedy is used pretty sparingly throughout the season. However, when it is used it is used to great effect and made me laugh out loud and rewind several scenes to see them again. One notable early example is the cat's first appearance in episode 1 (you'll know what I mean when you watch it). The comedy is extremely dark but also extremely entertaining and managed to surprise me and give me a welcome break from the tension that builds up throughout the show.
The style. The benefit of this show being available to stream is that episodes don't have to be cut to a specific time. This is used and the camera lingers on the characters faces to convey their emotions without them needing to talk and to build the suspense whilst also allowing the viewer to gaze on the beautiful, vibrant scenery. The style really complements the mood of the show, elevating it higher than many other shows that may try the same thing.
Overall, Mad Dogs is a show that delivers emotion, suspense, comedy and originality within a genre we have all seen before. It kept my interest from start to finish and now all I want to do is experience it over again. My only hope is that they don't try to drag it out with more seasons and just let it exist as the self-contained work of art that it is. This is my first new show of 2016 and it has already set a new benchmark for other shows of its kind. It is excellent and I fully recommend it.
And worst of all, how do you show a series about Belize with NO BLACK PEOPLE except one hooker?! The President of Belize is black! Black folk are everywhere. Except in this show. Grrrr.
By episode 3 I thought WTF is this show? There is so much drawn out drama that is shoe-horned into the script. It's truly like a bunch of high school chicks who can't get anything done because of far- fetched, BS scenarios. If this series could just stick to the action and suspense plot it would be nice but dang! There will be an intense situation (on a boat) and then a quick shift to a past event that occurred that has NOTHING to do with the current situation and these 2 or 3 guys argue about the stupidest crap and I am left thinking, are these grown men or junior high girls? No straight guys in real life would ever spend more than 2 seconds discussing the drama and it feels very forced. That just ruined it for me.
Next, there are many things that leave me thinking how the hell did the guys pull this task off. Knowing how to navigate through a jungle that sometimes seems like it's a 5 minute journey between the boat and home but the aerial shots make it seem like hours and miles away. Other times I feel like the same foot journey is miles long. And how the heck do they find the guys on the path in their vehicle? Can't figure it out and there are more instances like this.
Third, the camera shots just seem unnecessary at times like the kid who just got a camcorder and does these crazy (unnecessary) shots which serve absolutely no purpose.
Finally, I am so sorry to say but Michael Imperioli just looks odd. The best description is that he looks like an old Jewish grandma. It's bizarre and a tad unsettling.
I think this series has great potential but it could either be 2 or 3 episodes long and eliminate all the fake, annoying drama which only slows the show down. Steve Zahn and Romany Malco really shine in this series and are the stars of the show.