By Will Barber Taylor
In the opening episode, British Museum Curator Lady Alex jets off to the Amazon in search of Victorian explorer Percy Fawcett’s lost camp. But after encountering one or two minor mishaps, she is thrown together with the silver-tongued American swashbuckler simply known as Hooten. And despite hair-raising encounters with the jungle’s wildlife and a lost tribe, the pair stumble upon El Dorado– the fabled city of gold. But there are rival explorers lurking behind every tree to make sure that getting their hands on any treasure won’t be an easy task.
Sky has produced some great series over the past few years but Tony Jordan’s Hooten and the Lady is one of the best. Set against the landscape of the traditional action adventure series, Hooten takes the comedy of the Indiana Jones films and revs it up to unbelievably funny levels. Rather than having one central figure to put into ridiculous situations, Jordan cleverly splits the main components of an Indiana Jones like character into two parts. Hooten (Michael Landes) represents the action fuelled, gold pursuing side whilst the titular Lady Alex (Ophelia Lovibond) represents the more forensic, scientifically interested side. By taking these two disparate elements and putting them at odds, the situation is ripe for comedy. In other words, while Hooten is more interested in finding gold, Alex is more concerned with the historical importance of where that gold came from. Jordan milks the situation, using the traditional captured by antagonists’ cliché and making it genuinely funny instead of tired and worn.
Michael Landes gives a great performance as the swashbuckling Hooten. Landes’s performance clearly takes some inspiration from Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. However, Landes is not merely a rip off of Jones. As stated above, he is more like Jones more adventurous side without the moral compunction to take anything of historical worth to a museum. Thus, not only does this lead him into direct conflict with Alex, it provides some great comedy including the sequences during the pairs’ capture by the native tribe they encounter.
Ophelia Lovibond is also excellent as Lady Alex. Her spirited, exuberant and heartfelt performance as Alex makes the character incredibly endearing and likeable. She is passionate about her work and so is put at odd with Hooten, creating drama and comedy at the same time.
Overall, the first episode of Hooten and the Lady is a wonderful inclusion into the catalogue of great current comedy shows. With an upbeat tone and witty dialogue, it is a sure hit for anyone interested in history and comedy.
Brand new action adventure series, Hooten & The Lady, is available from Friday 16 September at 9pm on Sky 1