By the time you read this we will be two episodes and counting into the new Paul Abbott offering Hit and Miss (Tuesdays at 10pm on Sky Atlantic). Starring Academy Award Nominee Chloë Sevigny and set in the very un-Hollywood Manchester its unusual fare. Not least because the very glamorous Sevigny plays a sexy assassin in the north of England, it’s that she plays it with the help of a prosthetic – not a limb but a penis. And what a prosthetic it is, if we hadn’t been given enough glimpses in the first episode (shower scene) we were given two more opportunities in episode two (bath scene and a bizarre scene involving yet another prosthetic – a Cyrano De Bergerac style nose).
In the first episode the penis was definitely the star of the show. Sevigny seemed ill at ease in the role and rocking a very dodgy ‘Oirish’ accent for which she has already apologised for, the story being that Mancunian tones were too difficult to master so she compromised with some ‘begorrah and bejaysus’. She has also gone on record as saying Manchester was the grimmest place she’d ever been – it shows on screen. Mia her character is pre-op (as if we hadn’t already noticed) and suddenly discovers she has a son she never knew about. An old girlfriend has died naming Mia as the sole guardian of her 4 children. This all happens within the first ten minutes, the rest of the episode is devoted to introducing us to the pantomime villain of the piece, the landlord of the small holdings where the family live and raise a smattering of farm animals. It is implied that that the children’s mother and the landlord had an ‘arrangement’ regarding paying rent, and as Mia spurns his advances the back rent must be paid in full or the family will be evicted. Cue a beat down by Mia and the landlord is left bloody and vowing revenge, this he vows to his secret girlfriend none other than one of Mia’s new charges.
By episode two Mia firmly has her feet under the table as she seems to have a sense of duty to the children on the holdings even though the older two children seem to resent her, tellingly referring to her as the ‘Cock in the Frock’. All this Mia seems to take stoically but we don’t understand why- the depth of feeling Sevigny is trying to convey is just not there. Overall the two episodes didn’t spark and this might be down to the fact that Abbott while creating the series is not a writer on it, in comparison to the first three series of his other noted creation, Shameless. The show was at its most daring, provocative and funny when Abbott was also credited as a writer.
It remains to be seen if the remaining four episodes of the series emerge from the shadow of the prosthetic, sharpens up its dialogue and dares to become provocative in its own right.