Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Honking Box Review: Bonekickers

Yes, we know. Big hefty delays and a hideous lack of updates, yadda yadda yadda. Again, blame PC World. We’re this close to digging out a decade-old PC from the attic, seriously. Which is kind of apt, really, given that we’re about to tear strips off BBC One’s new archaeological ‘drama’, the frankly astonishing Bonekickers.

Running like an hour-long French & Saunders sketch rather than a gritty, thought-provoking prime-time drama, Bonekickers proved itself from the outset to be a colossal stinking pile of the greatest kind of horse shite. Shit that glitters, if you will. Boasting a selection of the most embarrassing dialogue ever uttered on the Beeb coupled with some truly wooden performances, Bonekickers is, on paper, plain awful. Yet the entire milieu of Acorn Antiques ropeyness and out-and-out lunacy actually achieve a result which is quite the opposite.

Where the awful Robin Hood shoehorns issues of today into a virtually unwatchable am-dram shambles (the next series features an increase in knife crime amongst the teenagers of Worksop, and the Sherriff jumping a queue in the market to be the first to get his hands on a Ye Olde iPhone 2.0), Bonekickers gleefully avoids such desperate attempts at credibility or superiority. Take last night’s episode, for instance – Julie Graham’s character descends into a hidden cave, delivering a line about how ‘these walls have never before been illuminated by electricity’. A line delivered with poignancy and raw emotion, and presumably a whole lot of sniggering from the writing team.

This same cave was additionally the location for a number of phonecalls, without a single concern relating to loss of signal until the brave buffoons were a good mile underground. The same cave where it was discovered Boudica got all horizontal with a Roman soldier, prompting Ben to comment “A Roman 4 an Iceni”, shamelessly reducing what would be Britain’s most significant historical discovery to mere txt-speak. In fact, Bonekickers disintegrates the very idea of historical accuracy with a big goofy smile on its face. Even Primeval’s conception of brand new dinosaurs with three heads and built-in laser beams seems more plausible than some of the facts uncovered by Bonekickers’ merry band of mystery-hunters, who themselves carry frightening parallels with the core cast of Scooby Doo.

Elsewhere, the ongoing story arc relating to the enigmatic sword is just plain awkward. At least the narrative threads that run through a season of Lost or Doctor Who carry a degree of subtlety to them – Bonekickers, on the other hand, stands atop a tall building wearing fluorescent colours, yelling “HEY MOTHERFUCKERS!! It’s all leading up to this sword business, you know!” through a megaphone.

And yet, these all add up to what makes Bonekickers so horrendously amazing. Not since the hallowed perfection of Sunset Beach has any show pulled off so-bad-it’s-good to such genius effect. Whether it actually attempts to do this is another matter altogether – it’s hard to believe that BBC One would spunk money up the walls on a hi-def drama that ticks every box a sitcom should. So fingers crossed, for the sake of comedy, they won’t ever actually realise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

use your archaeological imagination

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