The Body Farm – The Pilot

My first pilot review of the new season and it’s something British! And it’s rubbish! I can’t get the iplayer trailer to embed – have a transcript of the voiceover instead.

It was a dark and stormy night. Our heroine walks through a deserted landscape with but her big eyes and a super power flashlight to guide her towards the overly plastic looking bodies that lay abandoned in the rapidly forming swamp.
Voiceover: When a murderer takes a life he takes everything that we are, everything htat we strive to be and everything we hope to become. I have two promises that I vow to keep. My promise to the murderer is this – I will find you. Because when you stole that life you unknowingly left your trail deep in a new chain of events. You left behind you that which does not belong. The man made traces of your kill. The evidence. The murder sequence.

Body Farm desperately wants to be the UK answer to CSI, although I wasn’t really aware of anyone asking the question. Eve Lockhart (Tara Fitzgerald), a character with a name that could only happen in television, apparently originate on Waking the Dead (not Walking the Dead as I originally typed, which I guess would be some kind of reality show built around taking zombies to dog training classes… hey now there’s a pitch idea!). She opens the episode with a voiceover (sigh) where she witters on about finding justice for the dead, or some such malarkey. It told you everything you needed to know about the show – i.e. that it thinks it’s big and clever… and that it isn’t.

Very soon her band of merry misfits appears, interrupted in the middle of their dubiously scientific investigations of icky things to eat breakfast together, raising a number of questions about their work-life balance and general hygiene. It’s not long before we find ourselves at an impressively revolting crime scene and the plot plummets off a cliff into the pits of ridiculousness and gets just about everything wrong that it possibly could. Let me just bullet point some of the ludicrous events out for you:

  • Police office: hey those two people over there look suspicious, you young scientist, why don’t you go and talk to them. They don’t like the police but maybe they won’t connect that you’ve been standing next to me behind the crime-scene tape having a conversation and they’ll talk to you.
    Suspects:
  • The hospital had labelled someone as “Do Not Resuscitate” without telling her father, who had also not been informed about the fact that his daughter was brain dead and pregnant.
  • An apparently perfectly acceptable investigative technique is to lie to a suspect, then leaving him in the room with a friend while a phone is hidden and transmits their conversation to the cunning police people in the corridor.
  • “You are under arrest…” That … indicates the gaping silence where the officer utterly fails to inform said arrest-ee that he has any rights at all. But that’s okay, because he then just leaves the suspect to wonder off by himself anyway.
  • A number of crimes against science including tracking 2 week old blood through a derelict building using 6 tsetse flies and instantaneous DNA processing using a laptop. I don’t want to know where they inserted the sample.

This show is awful. It’s so powerfully awful that it made my housemate come and watch it solely to catalogue the many ways in which it was awful. There isn’t even an attempt to be realistic about things – the science is infinitely worse than the already questionable CSI and the police procedures are offensively wrong to anyone that’s ever watched an episode of The Bill. But even that I could probably have forgiven if not for the fact that the writing is so bad, the characters so annoying and the plot so full of holes that it’s as if the writers were part of some experiment to see if they could create something with absolutely no redeeming feature whatsoever. Catastrophically awful – avoid like the plague.

The Guardian thought it was “Amusing, and quite good fun, but daft”. Other opinions are of course available, but they’re wrong.

The Body Farm is on BBC1, Wednesdays. It’s also available on iPlayer

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  1. September 4th, 2012
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