The second episode of 'Hunted' demonstrated again what I feared from last week's debut - basically, that this whole series appears to have been based on a plot line that would have filled one and a half episodes of 'Spooks'.
It all got a bit claustrophobic as the writers didn't stray too far from the one setting of the elegant London villa where upstairs, it was all beautiful hall floor tiles and drinks before dinner, while downstairs, patriarch Jack Turner (a scenery-chewing Patrick Malahide) got to indulge in some no-holds-barred barrow-boy-made-good thuggery.
Patrick Malahide revels in ill-concealed thuggery in his beautiful London villa
Meanwhile, Sam Hunter (Melissa George) silently stomped around the gloomy house, all eyes and ears, with only one line to say in the first quarter of an hour, still looking for the person who betrayed her, still traumatised by her childhood nightmares. And, just in case we missed it, her strengthening bond with the house resident school boy, and his father, proved there's a real woman in there. It's almost like it's the family she never had. Come on, writers, get a wriggle on.
But, the overwhelming problem here was that nobody seemed to be having any fun. True, there weren't many side-splitters in 'Spooks', but it did at least feel like there was a glint in many an eye, the prospect of another big secret office romance only a pub visit away and, when all else failed, the nobility of serving ones country.
But this poor lot... they're having no laughs, and they don't even know who they're all working for, even when it comes to the prospect of sacrificing one of their own in order not to break cover. No wonder Special Forces veteran Ian (Lex Shrapnel, I kid you not) is confused and disillusioned. I just hope they're all being paid a lot of money, and that there'll be more chuckles in 'Skyfall'. I'm staying with 'Hunted', but I'm crossing my fingers for it to speed up, and for everyone to lighten up just a bit.