Promising action, adventure and a simmering slice of unresolved sexual tension, Sky1’s new series has arrived to enliven your Friday nights teaming up Michael Landes (Upstairs Downstairs) with Ophelia Lovibond (W1A, Elementary).
This first episode wastes little time setting the scene; suffice to know that Alexandra Lindo-Parker, the Lady, is a conservator at the British Museum who manages to gain backing for an expedition to the Amazon to secure a prize exhibit.
Lone American adventurer Hooten (Landes) is also there for his own reasons and fate, plus an encounter with a bunch of angry looking natives, throws them together.
Meeting in extremis and the two are chalk and cheese; ostensibly self-interested, he is full of swagger, if not quite as slick as he’d like to be, while she is well-educated and knowledgeable, if a little lacking in practical experience.
The two are at odds in their approach too, amusingly arguing the line between archaeology and grave-robbing; she is motivated by conservation and discovery, he seemingly by profit.
We warmed to both quickly; Lovibond’s Alex is the scholar hoping to learn from history. Dedicated and perhaps a little stubborn, she radiates sheer joy when they make a discovery. Landes’ Hooten on the other hand remains a little mysterious, but he is charismatic and funny with it.
While Hooten appears to be a solo operator, Alex has some sterling support with her boss Clive (Shaun Parkes) and best friend Ella (Jessica Hynes) back in Blighty. Doubtless both will both have more to do than exercise their frown lines as the eight-part series progresses.
This opening adventure kicks off in the Amazon rainforest, and makes the most of the epic scenery. Forthcoming episodes promise Rome, Moscow, Egypt and Bhutan as the pair hunt for treasures as diverse as the Buddha’s missing scroll and a lost Fabergé egg.
Upcoming guest stars include Blake Ritson (Da Vinci’s Demons), Angel Coulby (Merlin) and Jane Seymour as Alex’s mother, Lady Tabitha Lindo-Parker.
With its sparky blend of charismatic leads and a weekly globetrotting format, Hooten and the Lady clearly has bags of potential. Co-creator Tony Jordan (Hustle) stated ambition was to create something smart and funny as a reaction to the all the serial killers and murder investigations filling our screens. Based on what we have seen, they have achieved that with a show that will have broad appeal, is fast and funny and retains a lightness of touch throughout.
Look, we got all the way to the bottom of the review without mentioning Moonlighting or Indiana Jones! Oops.
Airs at 9pm on Friday 16 September 2016 on Sky1.
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