by Paul DiNello
The newest addition to the BBC America Saturday night lineup is the eight part series Tatau from writer Richard Zajdlic and is a joint production of BBC 3 between retain and New Zealand. It is aired stateside following Orphan Black at 10:00 PM EST.
The series centers on 2 friends, Kyle (Joe Layton) & Budgie(Theo Barklem-Biggs) exploring the world with the Cook Islands next on the docket. Before you can even remember their faces they are pursuing a local hallucinogen from the cool hippie bar keep and offending the islands ruling class by trying to pick up the girlfriend of one of the main guy’s sons. Kyle and Budgie meet up with the bar owner Dries (Barry Atsma) in the jungle and begin their vision quest with a sludge type liquid that resembles two day old coffee. During this dreamlike state, Kyle sees the various trips you might see by taking a hit on a joint too hard, then has a vision of a young woman that appears to die in front of him. To make it as generic as possible the young woman (Shushila Takao) is the lady in the red dress. Budgie & Dries wake up naked in bed together which causes some poorly thought out homophobic banter from Budgie with the distinct possibility that the idea isn’t so far fetch. Kyle sees the woman in the surf while snorkeling but she disappears when Budgie takes a look. A mysterious Island Chief leads Kyle to a shack where pictures of the girl are hung, but he gets in trouble with the previously encountered boyfriend who also happens to be the red dress girl’s brother. Added subplots come to light that Budgie is in deep with loan sharks who are threatening his mother and that the waitress from Dries bar starts a sexual tryst with Kyle even though her father is the local Reverend and her lifestyle would make baby Jesus cry. It is revealed that the lady in red is in fact not dead, making it Kyle’s personal mission to decipher the meaning of the visions, tattoos and various other island legends by partaking in more of the crazy juice that began this whole adventure in order to prevent his dream girl’s demise.
Anyone that knows me is fully aware that I am a BBC fanatic. I love everything from Doctor Who to Orphan Black to the ultimate cheese factory of Atlantis. While the scenery and actors are absolute eye candy the character development is beyond thin. The showrunners are trying to make Kyle the hero but he tows the line too closely of being a complete psycho to root him on. While the basic plot line has the possibility of being intriguing with the island mysticism and the supernatural mixed in, for me it falls flat.
2 out of 5 stars