by pat howard

‘Secret Diary’ is British TV done right

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

They sure know how to make a guilty pleasure across the pond.

Not since Mile High have I so delighted in an imported series (though I’m hearing great things about Torchwood and Being Human). The Showtime suits originally intended to buy the format for Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Mondays, 10p/9c, Showtime), but couldn’t resist airing the original, which itself is based on a high-class hooker’s true tales. Billie Piper is beguiling as Belle, the titular prostitute, who is known in the daylight as Hannah. With the exception of her best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg), other characters ebb and flow into the storylines like strangers in the night. Bambi (Ashley Madekwe), introduced last year as Belle’s protege, has blossomed. The short seasons provide for both self-contained episodes and a satisfying, straightforward arc. And the Brits, less consumed with a series’ backend potential, are typically content to let a show end when it’s organically prudent instead of beating three extra seasons out of it for syndication and DVDs (sadly, much of Call Girl‘s music falls victim to the license fee ax and is replaced for DVD). It feels like a natural end is in sight for the series, whose status beyond the current eight-episode third season is unknown. It might have one more good arc in it, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the ride.

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