I’ve written and rewritten parts of this post a number of times now. I wrote about Republic of Doyle the other day and feel the need to follow it up with a review but I was having trouble figuring out what to say. I wanted to be kind and say I love it and that it was a great show, because there are so many people getting work from this production and it’s so cool to see people eating Ziggy Peelgood’s on TV. What I’m going to say is that I like it and I think it has great potential and a lot of positive things going for it. It’s the pilot episode and as I’ve said before about pilot episodes, they don’t really let you know what a show will be like. They introduce you to everyone and give us a bit of background. And the pilot for this one was good and it made me want to come back and see it next week.
But, yup, there’s the but, I wanted to admit that, to me, it lacked spark. It had all the ingredients to provide spark but whether it was between Jake Doyle and the constable who maybe will be a love interest or even between Jake and his dad, there wasn’t a lot of spark. These were my initial thoughts, along with my gratitude that Hawco and his fellow writers have decided to not make the characters stereotypical, over-the-top “Lard Jesus, b’y, what’s we gonna do, me son” people. But then I thought maybe that’s what I perceive as lack of spark. It’s not the show or the writing, it’s the fact that I’ve been programmed to expect this over-the-top stuff from television representations of us. These are regular people doing regular things in this extraordinary place. There’s no quirky missus with a hair net over her rollers, smoking a cigarette in her housecoat out on the steps, there’s no beer-guzzling drunk being loud and stupid. Not that all shows and all characters from here have been like that but I find it hard to remember a show coming out of here that didn’t have some of that, that didn’t play into the stereotype at least a bit. Republic of Doyle is about people who work, and act (fairly) respectably, and don’t swear all the time, and don’t even smoke. They figure things out, and protect their friends, and are from other cultures, and go to see lawyers in office buildings, and drive cool cars, and live in nice houses, and own their own businesses. They’re like most of the people I know. They are characters and not caricatures. And I really like that.
I also like the look of the place. I don’t know what kind of filters can make the city look quite so beautiful, bright, rich, and vibrant but I would like one on me at all times, thank you. I want everyone to have to see me through that same filter. I think the characters are pretty good and none of the accents really struck me as too fake (although I could hear Sean McGinley’s Irish accent come through a few times, most people outside Newfoundland probably wouldn’t notice the difference). My favourite character is actually not played by a Newfoundland actress. She’s Lynda Boyd as Rose and I liked almost everything about her (her accent wasn’t the best but it’s such a hard one to do). One more thing I have to say, and it’s really not fair since he can’t help it, but Allan Hawco is so damn good-looking that I found it distracting. Something about his eyes pulls me away from everything else happening in a scene. I’m sure if he tried to scruff himself up, it wouldn’t help a bit and would only make it worse, making him even more gorgeous.
I hope Republic of Doyle continues the things it’s doing well and even gets better as it gets its footing. I want to see more.