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A British Sub goes missing at the end of the war leaving only one crew member surviving. Everyone believes it lost to the bottom of the Baltic Sea, then 40 years later it reappears without a crew. The British government send for the the surviving crew member (David Jason) now a marine biologist. With a new crew and Jason then proceed to trace the last know happenings on the sub. But this submarine has a life of its own and the new crew soon start showing characteristics of the old crew. Written by
A derivative but nonetheless intriguing set up; a ship (in this case a submarine) is found many years after it sank, with no sign of the crew, or what happened to them. This has been done many times, it is essentially the story of the Marie Celeste. Despite that the set up hooked me, I love these kind of vaguely supernatural / time travel plot lines, however familiar they are.
To be honest I was disappointed by what was delivered. David Jason is a fine actor but his character in this came over as terse, sullen and not especially interesting. As he is the lead, and therefore your focal point throughout the story, this was a big failing. He just wasn't interesting or unusual enough, you learned almost nothing about his character despite him being on screen for most of the 180 minutes.
The plot itself seemed to peter out rather than deliver a climax, for a thriller (or at least a war time drama) I felt there was too little tension. The actual operation of the submarine and the technical side all felt very authentic but this did not compensate for the lack of plot, or genuinely interesting characters. The officers were all a little stiff, the crew were similarly generic, all of them have been seen many times before.
Towards the end I felt the plot simply ran out of ideas and some of what happened bordered on silly. The story seemed to flirt with the premise it had created, rather than really go into it. I never felt this story got going, I appreciate it was television but there was far too much chatter. It was slow in places where it needed pace, or another twist and this was, for me at least, the other major failing; ultimately the story lacked imagination. What Ghostboat delivered was almost exactly what you expected, no more. There was no moment when I thought 'now that is interesting, I never saw that coming'.
Despite these misgivings I thought it was not bad for a TV two parter. It was ambitious and though it failed to hit the target it was at the very least something different.
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