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‘Hooten & The Lady’ Bring Their Risky Escapades to The CW
July 13, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

Imagine a lite version of Indiana Jones condensed into an hour each week.

You have just imagined Hooten & The Lady, an eight-part British series that the CW has purchased for your summer pleasure and will begin airing at 9 p.m. ET Thursday.

Its puzzlingly nondescript title aside, it’s a good bit of jolly fun.

It stars Michael Landes (top) as Ulysses Hooten and Ophelia Lovibond (top) as Lady Alex Lindo-Parker, two adventurers who travel around the world in search of the world’s rarest and most elusive historical treasures, which may or may not exist.

The only script reputed to have been written by Buddha himself? They’re after it. Amazon rainforest? Himalayas? They’re there.

They could probably save themselves some time if they checked out the late, lamented Warehouse 13, which stored almost all of this stuff.

But heck, it’s more fun to go looking for it.

The setup is that Lady Alex works for the prestigious British Museum and she has promised to find artifacts that will make that museum a major player again.

If that means she has to spend some time tied to a pole dangling over a nest of fire ants, well, she did make the promise.

Ulysses, meanwhile, is sort of a freelance adventurer from America who knows a lot about a lot of places. Exactly what he does or wants to do is less clear, but under a cynical exterior, he seems to be a decent fellow.

This means that unlike some of the other chaps they meet, he won’t kill people for gold and won’t sell priceless artifacts to the highest bidder on the black market.

It puts him squarely into the shoes, if not the hat, of Indiana Jones. There is almost no situation for which he doesn’t have a wisecrack

When a hostile tribe of natives kills his horse, he cuts the horse up for dinner.

When Alex realizes what has happened and makes a face, Ulysses deadpans, “It’s what she would have wanted.”

With that kind of casual attitude, unlikely escapes from seemingly lethal situations become routine. At one point in the first episode, Alex and Ulysses tumble what seems like hundreds of feet down the side of a rocky mountain into a jungle ravine, dust themselves off and admire the scenery.

Since each episode takes them to a different exotic location with different perils, Hooten & The Lady never gets boring. It also barely pauses to take a breath, and while parts of the storyline carry over from week to week, viewers can pick up the series almost anywhere and enjoy the adventure.

Clever viewers will also have noted, about five seconds into Episode One, that this also seems to be a classic rom-com setup.

The fact Ulysses and Alex make it clear they dislike each other will only reinforce for most viewers the inevitability of their eventually falling in love.

The wild card here is that Alex is engaged to a proper Englishman with the proper English name of Edward (Jonathan Bailey). Alex’s mother Lady Lindo Parker (Jane Seymour, right) works nonstop to ensure that Alex will stop this foolish adventurism and marry this upstanding fellow of rank and breeding.

So even as Alex keeps having more life-and-death adventures alongside Ulysses, with all the bonding that inevitably entails, she remains on course to tie the Edwardian knot.

Remember, it’s also true that there are few things Brit writers enjoy more than forbidden romance. Downton Abbey. Grantchester. Home Fires.  

So we may never know where Alex, Ulysses, and Edward are eventually going until we learn whether Britain’s Sky 1, the producers, will be ordering a second season.

If their travel budget didn’t send them into bankruptcy, why not? Meanwhile, by purchasing the first season, the CW has struck a blow for popcorn television.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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