I loved this show from 20 seconds into the pilot until its final cut to black. The biggest disappointment of the whole thing was its early cancellation, meaning that start to finish was just thirteen episodes, 10ish hours.
This is a little show. There’s nothing spectacular about it, nothing big budget or flashy. Everything is underplayed – the drama and the humour. I put it perfectly (if I do say so myself) in my pilot review:
But this show is good. Everything about it seems to effortless, as if a group of people just got together, wrote some stuff, had some ideas, acted a bit, edited it and threw a soundtrack at it. Maybe they did it over a weekend… had a bbq on Sunday afternoon after they were done or something. It all looks so easy and natural, it didn’t feel like a script or production that had been polished to death by hundreds of people, but somehow it ended up being perfect.
That ease is maintained through the series, even when things get a bit more serious with a gradual unravelling of a conspiracy theory and some life changing events… it all still feels localised and small. This is just people’s lives, it’s simultaneously nothing important and the most important thing in the world.
By the time I got a clear run to *cough* obtain the rest of the season and catch up, the show was already cancelled, general consensus seeming to be that it was miss-marketed and failed to find the audience. In this situation I’ll often not bother catching up, why fall in love with something if I’m only going to have to say goodbye? But having been reassured that the season was self contained, I decided to listen to the other critics out there who were telling me that cancelled or not, this was one of the television highlights of the year.
I could go into immense details of what it is that makes the show great, but it doesn’t seem worth it. Either you’re going to follow my advice and go and seek the show out because I’m saying you should, or you’re not. My telling you that the characters are all brilliant from the lead pairing through the supporting cast all the way through to random throwaway characters who appear for a scene, or that the dialogue is hilarious, or that the mystery is complex and twisty, none of that really adds much to the fact that I’ve already said it’s brilliant.
In some ways I think the short season made the show even more enjoyable. I didn’t have to worry about whether the show could work for multiple seasons, it just had to make it through a dozen episodes to earn its place as a one season wonder alongside such greats as Firefly and Wonderfalls (all three have Tim Minear associated with them, poor sod). Like those fabled shows, Terriers was never really given the opportunity to fail, maybe it wouldn’t have been sustainable, the characters might not have been able to sustain the tricky balance between crooks and heroes or the slow pace may have become boring. But for the thirteen episodes it has, it is flawless.
CliqueClack – I hope it’s not too late for you to get the same invested enjoyment from Terriers that I did. Trust me with this, you can watch the entire season and be satisfied even if my own wishes for season two don’t materialize. It’s that good.
TVSquad – Best TV of 2010 list – “This engrossing gem developed into the best new show of the year, rising above its low-key beginnings to tell memorable tales about love, loss, corruption and the lead characters’ nutty yet admirable tenacity. ‘Terriers’ was a wily, amusing and emotionally rich update of classic film noir storytelling, set in a memorably scruffy beach town and full of delicious twists and compassionate observations about human nature.”
TVSquad also a great review of the season, but it’s a bit spoilery for the final episode
Hitfix: It started off good, riding on the alchemy between stars Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, real-life pals playing best friend PIs in a dingy seaside SoCal town. It got even better, with a deft mix of standalone and serialized stories.