British television at it’s best – E4 brings us Glue
Yesterday evening saw the arrival of E4‘s newest offering, Glue; an eight-part teen-drama series set in a small rural town, known as Overton. Broadchurch meets Skins was the word on the street, and while those whispers were certainly right in some ways, Glue, in one episode, managed to present itself as a whole different kettle of fish. Starring a plethora of up-and-comers, including one half of Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens, there were plenty of teen cliches and mayhem ahoy, but in a gritty, real way. The initial strength of episode one lay with the surprisingly good acting ability of these apparent new-comers. By the final moments though, the mystery of the plot and dark nature of several of the characters left viewers with a sweet anticipation for next week’s offering.
What do we know so far? A thew things; the drama will be focused on a group of eight young adults (Annie, Ruth,Tina, Dom, Eli, James, Janine and Rob), while they come to terms with the murder of one of their own (a younger boy named Cal, brother of Eli, a Romany), drugs, petty-crime and underage boozing are the norm, and betrayal and adultery are a plenty. The most interesting element so far is the large number of Romany inhabitants in the village, something which was an unexpected element of the drama. Were these people involved in the killing? What brings them to this town? And, will there be a divide between them and the police as the investigation gets going? These are just several pressing questions brought up during the much-too short 50 minute episode (eager beaver, right?).
With the beginning of Glue Channel 4 have yet again highlighted themselves as leaders (perhaps even, pioneers) in Brit drama. When you look at the unique subject matter of shows like Top Boy, and strength of writing in dramas like Utopia and Shameless, there is little competition elsewhere. Dramas like these are the rare percentage of TV that America cannot compete with – grit and somewhat uncomfortable issues are brought to the forefront of viewers minds, and this kind of genre of television cant quite seem to be replicated in the same way by the yanks.
Not for the fainthearted (featuring full-frontal nudity, animal killing and many more shocks) if Glue can continue to bring the same level of mystery, the sense of teen urgency to experience everything all at once, and the intriguing setting of life on a farm, it will be up there with the best.