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6 Degrees Entertainment

'COBRA: Season One'
(Robert Carlyle, Victoria Hamilton, Richard Dormer, David Haig, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: COBRA follows the Prime Minister and his titular committee, comprised of leading contingency planners and senior politicians, as they navigate the difficulties in overcoming a major national crisis.

DVD Verdict: For my money, 'COBRA' is a laudable attempt to portray behavior in the face of a genuine national emergency. In order to create the necessary drama, events necessarily unfold somewhat rapidly and normally law abiding people become anarchic maniacs almost overnight but, nonetheless, the story does hold water.

It also shows, over a truncated time-frame, just how awful people can be; anyone who remembers the miners' strikes, Brixton riots and "The Troubles" will also remember how ugly things can become, and how quickly.

The tortured Prime Minister, superbly played by Robert Carlyle and ably supported by his brilliant advisor, played by the equally excellent Victoria Hamilton, finds himself assailed on all fronts - anarchy on the streets, disloyalty and insurrection from his Home Secretary and major turmoil at home.

It is clear throughout that he is the man n charge and he is the one who has to make all of the difficult decisions; Carlyle's portrayal of a man who knows the buck undoubtedly stops with him is perfect.

The back stories relating to the Prime Minister and his advisor don't intrude but allow for a demonstration of how they both deal with difficult, and emotional personal issues alongside their professional duties.

Things may be a little far-fetched at times but then this is television and not real life. Thankfully we are spared the usual, and utterly unrealistic CGI and there is plenty of tension as the story develops.

It's not a great series but, when compared to some of the tripe that's been pushed of late - 'His Dark Materials', 'Deadwater Fell' 'War of the Worlds' and 'Dracula' to name but a few (out of oh-so many) - it's more than good enough for a high scoring grade.

A grade that is pushed higher by the central performances of Carlyle and Hamilton, who are admirably supported by Richard Dormer and David Haig's horribly slimy, constantly plotting Home Secretary.

Clearly there's a second series already planned for 2021 and I have to say that I'm rather looking forward to it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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