Tide of Life follows the fortunes of young housekeeper, Emily Kennedy, as she learns about relationships with three very different men. Forced from home of her first employer, Sep McGilby ... See full summary »
THE MILL is passable but not great. I was hoping it would have the same level of finesse as the many Catherine Cookson adaptations that were made during the 1990s, like THE GAMBLING MAN with Robson Greene, but it looks and feels a lot cheaper than that, and the period detail doesn't really convince. The production values are poor for what it is.
Story-wise, it aims to reveal the lives and hardships of the workers in a real-life cotton mill during the 19th century, although of course it can't resist showing us the doings of the owners as well. Unfortunately, after a strong first episode, the series gradually descends into melodrama and becomes way too contrived. Despite the best efforts of the (decent) cast members, the characters never have much chance to develop beyond the obvious roles.
The main problem with the production is John Fay's script, which is way too politically sensitive and gets too bogged down in trying to show the viewer some of the big political movements of the time while losing focus of the individuals who really matter. The moment in which an ex-slave is shoehorned into the story to rail against the evils of the slave trade is when this series really lost me, and the final episode never really provides resolution to many of the sub-plots; one main character, played by Kevin McNally, just disappears from the screen! Even some text to explain what happened to each character after the series would have been appreciated.
Overall, THE MILL isn't too bad, with performances from the likes of the excellent Kerrie Hayes helping to keep it interesting at the very least. It's just a shame it's so drab and determined to be miserable, so that the highs that do occur amidst the many lows feel false and, well, contrived. Must do better, Mr Fay.
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