Wednesday, August 02, 2006

TV Review: Hustle

Summer Shows I'm TiVo-ing Week continues!

#3 Hustle
Genre: Crime-ish Drama
Channel: AMC
Season: None on DVD yet, 3 currently airing

I'm a big fan of con artists, at least in the "televised entertainment" sense of the word "fan". Part of me relishes clockwork plots with intricate machinery that depends on flawed individuals pulling off exacting tasks to swindle deserving people/corporations/governments out of their money.

Additionally, I also like shows set in Britain, for reasons I still can't explain other than "Man, everything sounds 10 times cooler with that accent."

So, as you might have guessed, I really dig Hustle.

Brought to us overseas from the same team that gave us MI-5 (simply one of the best spy thrillers since... well, ever), Hustle traces the cons pulled by a likeable gang of no-goodniks with access to high tech and low morals.

The idea is that each episode revolves around an individual con being run against the aforementioned scumbags/evil companies/baddies, so it's easy to root for these folks as they weave their intricate plans in the name of making a whole hell of a lot of money.

Three reasons I enjoy this show:

1) The cast is a typically demographic-spanning coalition of twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and forty-something... plus Robert Freakin' Vaughn as the Old Man/quasi-ringleader. And Robert Vaughn acts the hell out of his part. He's clearly having a good time, and it's infectious. I mean, in a good way. Ahem.

2) Whenever the gang pulls off a particularly tricky part of the con, they break the fourth wall and wink at the viewer. I love this cheesy effect, and no, I can't explain why.

3) You never get the whole story until the end of the episode. There's always something unexplained in the middle of the story, and you (and several of the cast) are left wondering "Why/How did that happen?" and then at the end somebody explains, and you go "A-Ha! I should have seen it coming!"

This currently airs on AMC, which mystifies me, but kudos for AMC not chopping it into 42 minutes to fit American boradcast times and letting it run an hour and a quarter so we see the whole show. Other channels that air overseas productions (I'm lookin' at you, A&E) butcher the show to the point of leaving out crucial plot elements, but that's not the case here.

So, Hustle: one part Mission:Impossible, one part Ocean's Eleven, nineteen parts delicious Robin Hood-type glee.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Heist movie fans, fans of plots with lots of moving parts, ensemble acting pieces, fans of Robert Freakin' Vaughn.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Those who have trouble with heavy English accents, people with short attention spans, or those who can't conceive of ANY crime being justified or fun. (And no, I don't want to know those people.)

AV Rating: 4/5. Good fun. Check it out.


Blogger Sara J said...

I must see this. It sounds amazing.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

At last count, I believe it was in fact 344 kinds of amazing.

5:59 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

It's spawned a spinoff too, The Real Hustle, which is a hidden-camera type thing which shows you how these scams work.

Oh, and the new series of Spooks (MI5) is a cracker so far. The opening two-parter is superb tv.

9:52 PM  

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