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Would watch a second series. Unusual and unique for UK.
Some shows are victims of the commissioning channel's lack of support, for example, the sudden cancelling of Atlantis which grew into a greater show with each episode. I imagine Tatau will not get a second series so we will never know whether it would have matured over another set of episodes. But I for one would tune in if the series was re-commissioned. Bravo to the BBC for giving viewers something out of the ordinary.
Tatau's strengths: It made an eye-pleasing change to see sun-kissed locations different from drab urban offices and bucolic green villages favoured by typical home-grown TV series. The actors were uniformly good with the double act of Joe Layton as Kyle and Theo Barklem-Biggs as Budgie managing to convey the reality of buddies who had been travelling and who had a shared history. Joe's intensity and Theo's buoyancy motored the plot. Theo's story contained an imaginative twist and the hints at Maori culture were intriguing.
New faces to British TV, Shushila Takau, Alex Tarrant and Rawiri Jobe as Aumea, Maui and Koringo were convincing and unsettling in their portrayals of ambiguous characters – should Kyle and Budgie trust them or not? Cian Elyse White as Lara Morgan, I thought, was an attractive and charismatic performer and character; she probably had the best-written part in terms of variety of tone and emotion.
Sadly I think the show's weakness was in some aspects of the writing, where, although the set-ups and the complications all had massive potential, there were underwritten characters and scenes that seemed either missing or rushed. I want to applaud Richard Zajdlic on the one hand for creating a complex show with some fine scenes and character moments but I wonder whether the pressures of budget and/or time and/or location meant he would have produced a more satisfying total narrative if circumstances had allowed. I noticed he was producing too. I know he is an experienced writer and one of the past shows to which he contributed, This Life, was a classic.
I wanted to see more depth to particular characters Aumea's father and her brother both had much more potential than the script allowed. Temuera Morrison had a powerful screen presence and his role in the climax could have been much more developed. Budgie's mum (and Budgie's whole back story prior to arriving on the island) proved functional rather than integrated and thematic. It struck me that Tyler and Dries (Tai Berdinner-Blades and Barry Atsma) had a lot more mileage and were fascinating in their vignettes but it struck me they were potentially more complex than the screen time given – the relationship between Kyle and Tyler seemed to have resonance but we weren't shown how or why. Ditto Maui and Dries.
All the actors were engaging and I hope to see them again in the future. Overall my family and I enjoyed this series a great deal – and enjoyed shouting at the characters' decisions – always a good sign of an engaging drama.
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