The moment the clocks go back TV always starts to pick up and this year has been no different. With a vast array of options on each night it took me a while to get around to watching ‘The Cry’, however as soon as I started it I couldn’t stop.
The simplistic premise of the programme – Joanna (Jenna Coleman) and Alistair (Ewen Leslie) fly to Australia and their baby goes missing – is at first glance, nothing new or noteworthy. However, the dramatic storyline that unfolds is far more than it first appears. Coleman loses her child, is thousands of miles away from home and is faced with seeing her partner’s ex-wife on a daily basis. The character composition of this drama is one of its best features, in my opinion, and the watchability of Coleman is simply stunning. She perfectly portrays her complex character, showing the difficulty of being a mother in such a devastating situation.
One defining feature of the show is it’s format. Plot development and exposition are assisted through the inclusion of ambiguous cut-scenes that depict both past and future events. As a viewer, this can become somewhat confusing, yet as the plot moves forward these teasing snippets become vital to understanding the resolution to the story. This episodic structure is something I would like to see more of in the future because it is an interesting format to play with and can really aid a series in unravelling a story.
Another feature of this programme which is unlike other series airing this autumnal season is it’s standalone nature. ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘The Bodyguard’ – both phenomenal series in their own right – ended with the potential for future episodes which would either tie up any loose ends or continue character development. However, the conclusion of ‘The Cry’ gives a tidy resolution. The only drawback here is we do not get to see any more from Coleman, yet it is refreshing to see a drama be both successful and compact, with nothing being lost due to the brevity of the series.
The only question left unanswered by ‘The Cry’ is this: will this BBC-funded mini-series pave the way for other shorter series? There is a distinct lack of short series on our TV screens at the moment and ‘The Cry’ could inspire a rise in content creators making more compact dramas. These condensed series are perfect for busy lives and are easy to digest, allowing for more experimentation on our screens, both with format and content.
I would recommend this series very highly if you are looking for a serious drama to watch that is innovative in it’s composition. However, prepare for some emotional watching – keep the tissues close!