The boys are back in town! And by boys, I mean “men” and by town, I mean “Majorca”. And, by jingo, It can be only one show – Sky1’s BAFTA-nominated Mad Dogs.
Returning after its electric first series, actors Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren are all still present, trying to come to terms with the events of the previous four episodes – in particular, the final ten minutes of the series finale which looked like the end for our middle-aged buddies.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire has never been so apt as the troupe flee the scene and try to make their way back to Blighty. Inevitably, this does not go smoothly – especially as one of our ‘heroes’ has nabbed something he shouldn’t have.
At times laughably dumb when it comes to crime, Woody, Quinn, Baxter and Rick continue their idiotic streak into the abyss of the criminal underworld. Rick, notably, gets the laughs as Warren superbly plays the clown to a tea whilst Beasley’s Woody, forever brooding, unveils some new, rather unsettling, character traits.
This time, though, it’s the Life on Mars duo, Glenister and Simm, who steal the show here; in particular the latter. Baxter is the catalyst for this episode, subtly leading the rest with his calm school teacher-esque facade; yet guiding them into another fine mess. But it’s one, very quiet scene between Simm and Glenister that reminds you of their powers as actors.
The two sit at a bar and contemplate the tumultuous events of the Series 1 finale, where it seemed that Quinn had lost his sanity (and faced certain death). Barely a word is spoken by each man and yet everything is revealed through their physicality and exquisitely executed facial movements.
Eyeing each another up, Glenister and Simm conduct a revealing and immensely tense conversation through their eyes; they dart around, seeking out the truth whilst trying to remain sympathetic.
This is what happens when men are alone, men without women. It reeks of Hemmingway in what’s unsaid and full credit to writer Cris Cole for allowing the drama to breathe.
The episode is almost low-key, especially as this is the “series opener”, and the direction from James Hawes (Doctor Who, Merlin) beautifully aides the mood with its cinematic gaze of the gorgeous scenery.
Mad Dogs currently boasts, without doubt, the finest cast on television and with news that Sky have already commissioned a third series, it’s gratifying to know that we can sit back and enjoy the rambunctious adventures of these lovable four boy-men for some time to come.
Airs at 9pm on Thursday 19th January 2012 on Sky1.
Are you looking forward to Series 2? Let us know below…