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September 21, 2014 | by  | in Arts TV |
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Silk

This is another British show, aired by the BBC from 2011–2014. Which is three seasons, for those who aren’t arithmeticians. Don’t think it’s received any critical attention – probably because it’s not such a great show, all things considered. However, personally, I found the first season to be an absolute banger.

Sadly, I also think the show succumbed to the second-season curse, which is another thesis/mockumentary I’ve been working on in my brain for a while now.

It’d probably be helpful if we discussed what the thing’s actually about. There’s a reason I said some things before saying what it is…

It’s a legal drama, guys. Concerning the day-to-day hustle and bustle of Shoe Lane where barristers abound, clerks dive and dodge, and judges run amok. I’m not exactly, precisely sure, but it seems like writing this in the uni library instead of in the safety of my own home is making things a bit weird with the prose in here. The judges don’t run amok. If anything, the show starts off reasonably seriously.

In fact, the first few episodes do some interesting character stuff regarding the intensity of the workload of the people moving in this industry. Maxine Peake does a pretty nice job on Martha Costello, a tenacious defence lawyer of great principle. (I’m really not sure why this is so facetious. Not trying to be.) Her accent is absolutely outrageous as well, fuckin’ awesome Northern shit. Which is normally a pretty filthy accent, in all likelihood.

Anyway, this is one of those shows that isn’t going to change your life, but it is going to do the business when you’re hungover on Saturday or Sunday or Tuesday and you need to load up like ten episodes of something and just starfish for a few hours. Notably, it’s a good thing to watch if you’re into periodicals: there’s a new case which is argued each week (Martha almost always wins. And even when she doesn’t, she gets the moral victory, you know?), and throughout the first and second season, there’s a bit of trouble brewing with a local gangster, trouble which eventually comes to a head.

These aren’t spoilers, by the way. Don’t think the point of the show is for it to be mysterious and unpredictable. It’s familiar and cosy and there’s a quote about how language is the weapon of the arena of the courtroom which stuck in my mind.

So if any of this sounds boring to you, then don’t watch it. The legal-drama bit is actually pretty good, I think. Doesn’t have the latent misogyny of Suits and Boston Legal and stuff, which, if that’s an issue for you, then this show might be okay. I haven’t rewatched it so it’s possible/very likely I missed some stuff. However, generally, I think Silk seems to deal with those ‘edgier’ subjects with nice sensitivity. There might be some trouble with race, actually…

Anyway.

Created by Peter Moffat. My research actually tells me this show has been described as a “disappointment”. Perhaps we should see about some more of that guy’s stuff. There’s some good attention to office politics and morality throughout the first season of this show, however, which regrettably does regress somewhat in the later seasons.

And yeah, on that second-season curse. I’d say there’s this thing that happens with TV shows where they have a banger of a first season – heaps of time to conceptualise and write and develop and etc – and then second season comes along and there’s a lack of coherent content left, and the show just gets a little silly. Indeed, Suits did that. Which really might be why Boston Legal just started silly, because then you can continue with silliness, never worrying about second-season curse. Anti-silliness is tricky and seen by many as ultimately boring, and that’s why sometimes, TV producers should just cut drama shows off after a season.

Or you have to really commit to the periodical and do Law and Order or CSI or something, with outlandishly good-looking police characters that an audience can really Come To Love. Realistically, the balance between authenticity and cash might be quite complicated. Cf the music industry… okay, enough of that.

Probably not such an intelligent idea after all, actually.

But to conclude: I’d say firstly, if you’ve made it this far through the review, then congratulations. Additionally, if you’re into episodic drama, then give this a shot and see how you go. There’s also heaps of workplace sex, which is something people seem to really get into. Cool beans.

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