Talk about a series ending with a whimper, not a bang.
On Hooten and The Lady Season 1 Episode 8, which turns out to be the series finale (producers Sky 1 and the WB have decided not to go forward), the same old problems that plague the show are here in spades: derivative storytelling, the lack of a compelling villain, and a total absence of real stakes.
It was cute and nostalgic at the beginning: a show based on the action/adventure movies from back in the day.
Borrowing HEAVILY from the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" films, along with a healthy dose of the "Romancing the Stone" and "National Treasure" movies, the series aimed for the fun kind of action/adventure tropes you know and love.
With beautiful. exotic locations as the eye candy, the two attractive, bickering leads search for the treasure du jour, only to have it stolen by the bad guys, setting up our heroes stealing the booty back in the last act.
The story structure was definitely old school, with the same plot happening pretty much every week. Only the location changed.
Shows like this depend on the chemistry of the leads to get and keep the audience engaged.
Hooten: Are you kidding me? You can't outsmart me.
Lady Alex: A chicken could outsmart you.
Hooten: OK. Let the best man win.
Both actors did a good job, but ultimately the boilerplate writing and pacing sunk this one.
The only saving grace for me was Ophelia Lovibond as Lady Alex. Her work as the frazzled Alex is the highlight on a rather boring, derivative show.
She was a great foil to Michael Landes' roguish Hooten, but the decision to not go there with any possible romance proved to be a big mistake.
Lady Alex: Look, you're just going to have to face it. Like it or not, we're going to have to work on this together.
Knowing that Lady Alex was to get married to the bland as mashed potatoes Ed was supposed to be an ongoing crisis, only it never came to a boil.
There were hints throughout that Alex was antsy about getting married, and it would have been fun to see her go all runaway bride and ride off into the sunset with Hooten, but that was never a possibility.
That reared its ugly head here, because there was ZERO tension about the wedding. Lady Alex was running away, it turns out, from all the pomp and circumstance of the huge ceremony arranged back in London by her domineering mum.
When boring Ed came to rescue her from the bad guys, she treated him like he was returning a lost glove to her or something.
She finally introduced Ed to Hooten, with predictable results.
You're manacling yourself to her voluntarily. You're the bravest man I've ever met. I salute you.Hooten [to Ed]
The chemistry between Alex and Ed is less than non existent, which undercut the main recurring storyline for the entire series.
We can't care about a major plot thread involving people supposedly in love, about to get married, if they appear to be no more than friends.
The most emotional moment in the entire series came after the Captain Morgan treasure was secured, when Alex finally came clean with Hooten about her wedding doubts.
Turns out she didn't want to give up her globetrotting ways, and had a deep seated fear that boring Ed night want kids. She is clearly not emotionally ready to get married, but we never really got to the root of it until the end of the series.
It was an opportunity wasted: Alex' doubts and fears should have been sprinkled throughout the show, not dumped on us in one chunk at the end.
This brings to light another major problem: she never talked to boring Ed about her concerns, not once. He was basically a walk on until this episode. For someone so important to her, he was given almost no screen time.
The fact that she opens her heart to Hooten, and not her fiance, is troubling as well.
The producers strongly said from the jump that there would be NO possibility of romance between Hooten and Lady Alex.
While I thought that was a good way to go at the beginning, to not go down that well worn path, the way the series played out proved that strategy to be a huge mistake.
The chemistry between the leads was the only real positive they had going for them, so to totally cut off the possibility of them eventually getting together took all the potential drama out of wedding scenario.
Hooten: I've yet to meet a single woman who is as smart as you, as funny as you, or as loyal as you. You're pretty, you can kick ass when you need to, and you've got a smile that can light up a room. He's a lucky guy.
Lady Alex: Stop being so nice to me. It's very disconcerting.
Hooten, who clearly has feelings for Alex, gave her the pep talk before the wedding that could have been a really potent romantic moment, creating doubt in her mind before the ceremony.
But, since we know she wasn't going to potentially run away with Hooten, the scene fell flat, even though Lovibond did a helluva job showing her conflicting emotions.
Hooten tells Alex he's going to Vietnam on another adventure, so she just happens to suggest that very same location for their honeymoon. Shocker.
The series ended as expected, with Hooten and Alex in jeopardy, but still making with the witty banter.
She is also still lying to Ed about her adventures with Hooten, which, if the series had continued, might have provided a sorely needed dramatic spark.
Had the series continued, it would have been an opportunity for the writers to actually get Hooten and his Lady together. But, unfortunately, we will never find out.
Ultimately, Hooten and The Lady was nothing more than a mere trifle, a summer fling.
Pedestrian writing and plotting doomed this to failure, despite really good performances by the leads. Oh well.
That's my take: tell me what you think. Were you disappointed with the big wedding plot that ended up being an afterthought? Would you have preferred to see Hooten and Alex get together?
Let me know in the comments section.
If you missed any episodes, you can always watch Hooten and The Lady online, right here on TV Fanatic!