Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
The Last Panthers – s1e1 – Episode #1.1 | Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, Goran Bogdan, Igor Bencina, Corinne Masiero, John Hurt | Writer: Jack Thorne | Director: Johan Renck
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Originally aired in France, the UK, and a few other European countries in late 2015, “The Last Panthers” is a labyrinthine crime thriller about thieves who may or may not be associated with The Pink Panthers of lore. After a mostly successful heist in Marseilles (that resulted in the accidental death of a child), the thieves are attempting to fence the diamonds with whoever wants them, now that the former buyer reneged on their deal. Meanwhile, an insurance claims specialist with a traumatic past (Samantha Morton) is on their trail, assisted by her mentor (John Hurt). Her investigation runs concurrently with a French police officer (Tahar Rahim) who seeks justice for the girl who was killed.
There’s plenty to like about what’s being set up in the premiere. First off, the series was created and written entirely by Jack Thorne, who cut his teeth to their sharpest edge in English theater, television, radio, and film. Known chiefly for his shows “The Fades” and “This is England”, Thorne is well versed in composing weighty dramas that thrust complex characters in excessively bleak situations. From the opening minutes of “Panthers” it’s apparent this world viewers are entering is full of intrigue and high stakes action.
The cast itself is an impressive collection of players who have no difficulties in turning any role they accept into an effective, meaningful performance. While Samantha Morton and Tahar Rahim are intended to set the tone for the six-episode series, the inclusion of John Hurt as Morton’s grouchy yet coolly perceptive mentor is a boon to any program that is able to acquire his services.
It’s more than possible that the pacing and tone of “Panthers” could make one lose interest halfway through an episode, if not sooner. The premise of the show is rife with tension and turmoil, however the substantial lack of emotion is so profound, it’s as though there’s absolutely no joy in this world. Furthermore, every character introduced so far has a sour disposition that could easily make viewers disinterested.
Granted, the plot gives none of the characters any reason to crack a smile or throw a saucy one-liner. Yet the grim and dreary nature of “Panthers” hangs over the premiere like a wet blanket. It’s definitely not a limited series for everyone.
If the action picks up and the narrative continues with a more even pace, viewers may want to watch at least the next two episodes. Although its somber themes and desaturated presentation could turn viewers off from watching the series, the cast and crew involved give one some hope that “The Last Panthers” will have a satisfying conclusion.
The Last Panthers
Watch If: The bleakest crime dramas are your cup of tea.
Don’t Watch If: You don’t like programs that are damn near monochromatic and display the most depraved parts of humanity.