Monday, 17 August 2015


“The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.” - H.L. Mencken

Sometimes you watch something on TV or watch a movie and you’re puzzled: You don’t know if you liked it or not, don’t know whether it was worth the effort or not… It was precisely in this gray zone we ended up in after watching the first season of the 2011, UK TV miniseries “Mad Dogs” directed by Adrian Shergold and starring Max Beesley, John Simm, Marc Warren, Philip Glenister and Ben Chaplin. Superficially this seemed like a polished black comedy/thriller, but on reflection all that shines is not gold. Thinking about it, it is a sign of our times as it panders to the worse of human nature and covers the basest of behaviours and the worse of characters. Its plot centres on modern mores and deals with easy money, a “crime pays” mentality, and devalues decency and human life. If we take it seriously… Which we didn’t, hence we watched it all, rather than turn it off in disgust.

Cris Cole has written the screenplay and the plot is as follows: Four friends, Woody, Quinn, Baxter, and Rick arrive in Majorca, Spain, to visit their old mate Alvo, who ostensibly is now a retired, wealthy property tycoon enjoying the trappings of an ex-pat lifestyle in a luxury villa in a remote idyllic location. One by one Alvo asks his friends what they’ve done with their lives, whether they’re truly happy, and whether would they rather live like him. The hedonistic mood of the friends soon changes when they realise Alvo isn’t quite the man they thought he was. The luxury yacht Alvo takes them on turns out to be stolen; Alvo’s business is anything but squeaky clean and their friend has dragged them into something exceedingly dangerous. A murder committed in front of their eyes makes them realise that easy money and a jet set lifestyle is quite often supported by a life of crime…

The locations on Majorca are wonderful and it’s worth seeing the series to enjoy that. The acting is also very good and the production values high as one would expect from a BBC series. The success of the first season of four episodes generated another three seasons. It also generated a 2015 American clone of “Mad Dogs” where the four friends visit their old schoolmate in Belize rather than Majorca. Once again, one has to wonder what makes a TV series like this so widely popular…

We didn’t regret seeing this, but we won’t be watching any further seasons/episodes. The characters are rather unlikeable with hardly any redeeming features, their motives suspect and their actions stupid, motivated by base instincts, greed and guilt. The plot is thin and predictable, the situations the characters find themselves in ridiculous. Should you watch it? I don’t know… If it falls in your lap (like it did in mine), then have a gawk at it. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother searching high and low for it.

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