Hulu’s not-exactly-binge-worthy detective series with a twist will keep you reasonably entertained; hey, there are worse ways to spend six hours.
Described by the creators and on the Internet as a pre-apocalyptic show, ‘Hard Sun’ follows two diametrically opposed detectives, DCI Hicks (Jim Sturgess) and DCI Renko (Agyness Deyn), as they uncover a secret: the world ends in five years—because of the sun, or something. Actually the first episode isn’t really clear. In fact, it’s decidedly low on the science part of science fiction. While it’s not necessary to over explain every detail, what is ostensibly the principle concept of the show deserves at the least a bare-bones justification. True, we see some pictures of a rather foreboding sun, we see a graph predicting population decline, we see the characters’ shocked reactions, but the concept could be grounded, more believable. Perhaps further episodes flesh out this oversight.
Instead of concept, ‘Hard Sun’ focuses on character, and there they succeed. Reluctant partners DCI Hicks and DCI Renko form the perfect will-they-won’t-they, because deep down we just know they won’t. Creator Neil Cross (Luther) achieves this by juxtaposing their effectiveness as a team with the animosity they feel toward one another, an animosity that explodes at the end of the first episode. Each has a compelling backstory too—Hicks is a suspect in his friend and former partner’s murder, and Renko has a relationship with her attempted killer that’s…complicated.
‘Hard Sun’ bypasses the often-slow pace of character driven stories with loads of action. And half the time, it’s quite effective—towards the end of the first episode, a tense standoff with MI6 in a residential neighborhood will launch your heart into your throat. Sometimes, however, it’s overdone and unnecessary. The violence verges on gratuitous, and leaves you wondering whether or not a cop show should have to rely on Tarantino-levels of blood as a crutch. Hint: it shouldn’t.
Despite the lazy exposition and what is possibly the most cliché depiction of “hacking” this side of the 1990’s, ‘Hard Sun’ has enough character intrigue and engaging-if-not-undue action to warrant watching the first series if you have nothing better to do.
‘Hard Sun’ hits Hulu March 7th
Photo courtesy of IMDB