The Blue Rose completed its season one run on TV3 last night. The frightening part of that sentence is season one run – this show could have been okay if it was billed/created as a one-off; a one season only show. But as last night’s half-decent/half-awful finale rushed to get to the credits in a hope we wouldn’t think about all the loose ends and red herrings and lame attempts at swerves its proudest moment – which is to say the moment the show was most proud of – was in the way the lazy, ludicrous set-up for a second season was applied with a trowel.
Please don’t let there be another season of this show.
The Blue Rose had some makings of a half-pie decent crime show. But its premise pigeonholed it. And in fact it struggled to get over the line as a 13-part series; a 6-parter would have been the far better option. Less of the attempts to suggest Ganesh’s IT manager be something of a Shakespearian fool, less of the crime-fighting/do-gooding-in-a-vigilante-style sidesteps, less of the it’s-so-good-to-have-the-whole-gang-back-together bonding, less of the shenanigans.
Sometimes The Blue Rose was good. For the most part the acting was very good – in particular it was impressive to see Antonia Prebble and Siobhan Marshall work together again (having played sisters in Outrageous Fortune). They both reined it in big time from Outrageous Fortune’s fancy-dress thespians-as-bogans shtick. And were believable – even if Linda (Marshall) wasn’t quite really the right fit for the storyline – she wasn’t really ever quite believable as Rose’s friend. The more we got to know Rose (through flashbacks, and hey the actor playing Rose was rubbish, big time rubbish, the more we couldn’t believe Linda and Rose were so tight). Also her access/connections/tricks became all the more farcical week to week and her sleeping-with-the-enemy lapse was in itself very close to a shark-jump. I’m talking about Linda there. But the same actually applies with Rose.
In the final weeks of the show The Blue Rose became very good at teasing several jump-the-shark moments. And these casual asides (“oh yeah, Charlie had a P-problem but you knew about that, right?”) almost felt like the actors improvising to cover cracks in the script they had become embarrassed by.
I wanted to like this show. I stuck by it. Hopeful of the right outcome.
But at the same time, I predicted, three shows in, that it would descend to farce; that it would fall apart and that we were being wild-goose-chased as an audience, set-up in the hope we might quite like this wannabe-rogue gang.
Once they ditched all the references to that’s not what Rose would have done and what would Rose do? and we have to think of Rose we were expected to simply believe that the four main characters cared enough to throw every waking hour into a ludicrous – misguided and wayward – hunt for a killer. And then it became about another death altogether – and a DVD. And it never actually really made sense.
By this time you knew that Jane’s new boyfriend Charlie was created to do that quick unravel – moving from nice-guy to unhinged in one episode. He appeared in the final show as if late to the set from a dress-rehearsal for a Ponsonby Repertoire production of Twilight.
Meanwhile the audience should have followed Jane’s other boyfriend’s cue – and just disappeared half-way through the season.
The success of Outrageous Fortune was deserved. It was in so many ways the very best TV that New Zealand could offer – because it did a fine job of sending other (all) Kiwis up. And it had a storyline that offered an arc – but could be explored across multiple seasons. It was well planned, crafted, acted, written – right up until the final season when the wheels fell off. That same desperate wrap-it-up feel ruined half of the last season of Outrageous and saw the finale totally botched.
The Almighty Johnsons has been a joke, a sad, ridiculous joke. But get enough idiots whining on Facebook and you’ll get funding for another season.
The Blue Rose seemed like it might offer something new. Something worthy.
But it could never sustain itself. And that was my worry from the first episode. Then I gave it another chance. Then another. Then another.
So it was – of course – my own fault to be upset by a terrible season-one wrap; a stupid closing sequence, an absurd final half of the finale. But I felt ripped off. I felt cheated. I deserved more. Because in the moments when The Blue Rose did deliver, did get it right, there was some intrigue, there was the city of Auckland resplendent as a character, and a brilliant set of locations. There was superb music to help set scenes and ratchet tension. There was some great acting – even when the lines were hammy and stupid. And there was an element of trust going on; the show seemed to want to make it feel like it had the audience’s back. It wasn’t going to let us down.
But it didn’t. And so it did. In that order.
I could never watch a season two of this show. And though it might not be the best business move to create one-season-wonders I’d rather the time and money was spent creating one single kick-ass season of something than to spin it out and hope that a bunch a TV-fanatics will fall for the characters and ride along for however long it takes before the funding runs out. And then just get on Facebook and demand some more…
The Blue Rose was good. For a bit. And then it was shit. Really shit. And that ending – I mean it wasn’t far off the it was all a dream thing we all tried once or twice at intermediate, maybe even high school…