I’d not bother with this sort of twaddle even if I was immortal
14:44 31 October 2014
The Intruders, BBC2, Monday, 9pm:
If you’ve recorded The Intruders and were planning to watch it in a leisurely fashion over the weekend, this review is for you: DON’T DO IT.
Remove the plug from your shower and spend the time you’d have spent watching The Intruders removing years of compacted hair and soap scum. Phone your most boring relative for an hour and a half and talk to them about quadratic equations. Go and stand in a slow-moving queue with really heavy bags. Call your mobile phone provider at peak time and listen to the hold music. But whatever you do, don’t watch The Intruders.
Generally, there’s nothing I like more than a spot of paranormal activity while I eat crisps on the sofa - The Walking Dead. True Blood. American Horror Story. Under the Dome (a bit rubbish, but at least I understand it) – this, however, is unadulterated twaddle.
The basic plot premise – which I gleaned from the internet and not from the programme, which is unfathomably complicated and baffling – is that a secret sect has discovered a way to cram their souls into the bodies of others.
There are more strands to The Intruders than you’d find on a threadbare sofa.
There’s an assassin, a child possessed by the spirit of a middle-aged man who likes to drown cats in the bath, John Simm with a questionable American accent and a missing wife who took to dancing and speaking Russian just before she upped and left, something or other called “infra-sound”, perpetual drizzle and the kind of dialogue that makes you feel tired after 30 seconds.
If I need to convince you further not to press play on episodes one and two of The Intruders, which were aired consecutively on BBC2 in a blatant admission that episode one was utter tripe and that no one in their right mind would tune in for episode two but they might, just might, not bother to press the ‘off’ button and therefore would watch part two by default, there’s jazz in it. Jazz. And I thought things couldn’t get any worse.
I did watch both episodes, mainly so that you don’t have to but also because I had been bored into a state of catatonia and had a family-sized bag of crisps to console myself with. To be fair, the second episode was better than the first. To be fairer still, this isn’t saying much.
Back to the plot, which involves body snatchers and a bizarre desire to be immortal, which has always struck me as a stupid thing to wish for – I’ve just hit my 40s and I’m already tired to my very core.
Jack Whelan (John Simm) is enjoying his perfect life with his perfect wife in their perfect house that I very much doubt he could afford from his salary as an LAPD cop and everything would be great if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s clearly been possessed by someone, or something.
When Amy Whelan (Mira Sorvino) heads off on a business trip and disappears, Jack tries to track her down and discovers that he might not know his wife as well as he thought he did – especially when a high school friend called Gary (Tory Kittles) turns up and asks for help with a case that might be connected.
Meanwhile, pantomime assassin Richard Shepherd (James Frain) has a shopping list of bodies: he knocks off the wife and son of a man called Bill Anderson who he’s searching for and then visits a little girl called Madison (the one ray of light in this dross, played by Millie Brown) who isn’t quite what she appears. We learn this when she gives Lupi the cat a lingering underwater cuddle.
What else? There’s a group of geeky renegades spreading the word about the secret cult on pirate radio. People keep saying the phrase: “Because in the beginning, there was death”. The number nine is important. There are very low sound frequencies that may be the key to immortality. Men in black keep secrets. I noticed a hairline crack in my living room wall that really needs attending to.
Throughout, the music is PORTENTOUS and DOOMY and LOUD and the atmosphere is MOODY and MACABRE. There’s quite a bit of mindless violence, but if you compare it to my current favourite TV show, The Walking Dead, it’s like an episode of The Teletubbies.
What this show, adapted from a Michael Marshall Smith novel by X Files writer Glen Morgan, lacks in character, humour and interest it more than makes up with in self-serving dialogue and vague plotlines that I still don’t understand even after I’ve read the Wikipedia synopsis.
In short, for those of us who are not immortal, and therefore only have one lifetime, it’s for the best that you don’t waste any of your precious time on The Intruders. Don’t thank me, it’s all part of the service.