‘Mad Dogs’: Series 2 DVD review

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Sky1’s remarkable drama from 2011 proved such a success that a further two series were quickly commissioned, and it’s not hard to see why.

This second four-part run of Mad Dogs picks up the baton from its predecessor and serves justice to the channel’s faith in the show.

Series 2 kicks off immediately from the bizarre and slightly bewildering finale with the misplaced middle-aged gang – played by John Simm (Life on Mars), Marc Warren (Hustle), Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon) and Philip Glenister (Ashes To Ashes) – leaping from one catastrophe to another.

Although the location has changed, the cinematic aesthetic is still as pleasing as ever (courtesy of Doctor Who director James Hawes) and the Brits abroad are suitably juxtaposed with their sweaty appearance, worn clothes and idiotic behaviour; so brilliantly portrayed by the aforementioned actors.

Writer Cris Cole is clever enough to realise, however, that the stylish production and mesmeric cast are not enough to sustain Mad Dogs through another series. After their dawdling around with huge amounts of stolen money (something we’re used to), the past is explored. But it’s not the past of our “heroes” Baxter, Rick and Woody and Quinn.

The third episode finds their buddy Alvo (Ben Chaplin) before his death in the first series – and we discover just why he was in so much trouble (and how his debt passed onto his buddies). The flashback, whilst an overused device in television shows these days, is used expertly and to great effect.

We’re also introduced to the “big bad” of the story, Mackenzie; played by star of stage and screen, David Warner (Tron, The Omen). If you were impressed by the ensemble cast already then you’ll need to recalibrate as Warner comes along and blows everyone off with an utterance of a syllable and lick of an ice-cream (which he does a surprising amount of times).

The finale is surprisingly low-key and a little predictable in parts, but the character piece between Warner and Glenister is TV gold and sets up the third series very nicely indeed.

Extras: Barely five minutes of interviews with the cast merely describing how the series starts, and how it connects with the first, is frankly an appalling way to treat people who have paid money for this release. No insight, no behind the scenes info – an absolute disgrace.

Released on DVD on Monday 12th March 2012 by 2entertain.

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