Au­then­tic­ity gone miss­ing in dra­mas

Con­vic­tion is de­void of hu­man emo­tion but The Kennedys: Af­ter Camelot is worth a look – just for the laughs.

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De­pend­ing on your source, ro­bots will have taken over all our jobs by next month, next Christ­mas, next decade. But I reckon they’re al­ready mak­ing in­roads if new United States se­ries Con­vic­tion (Thurs­days, 9.30pm, Prime) is any­thing to go by. How else to ex­plain this one-di­men­sional ef­fort?

It’s like the writ­ers have taken all the com­po­nent parts but just can’t put in any au­then­tic hu­man emo­tion.The premise is this: Hayes Mor­ri­son (Hay­ley At­twell) is the daugh­ter of an ex-pres­i­dent of the US. She’s also a bril­liant lawyer with self-de­struc­tive ten­den­cies.

We know this be­cause she dis­plays some be­hav­iour that might be con­strued as self-de­struc­tive. De­fi­ant in the face of au­thor­ity? Check. Churl­ish to­wards of­fers of help? Check. Dab­bling with drugs? Check. Any in­ter­est­ing hu­man quirk or nu­ance to this be­hav­iour? Er, no.

Any­way, she’s ar­rested for co­caine pos­ses­sion only to be pulled out of the po­lice cells by District At­tor­ney Conner Wal­lace, who wants to make her head of the newly formed Con­vic­tion In­tegrity Unit. There is some con­ve­nient back­story about po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions and Hayes’ mother, but what fol­lows is ba­si­cally a for­mu­laic po­lice pro­ce­dural pulled along by peo­ple with all the depth of your av­er­age Cluedo char­ac­ters de­liv­er­ing writ­ten-by-num­bers di­a­logue.

Sure, they’ve tried to make it in­ter­est­ing and a bit fun. To add ten­sion, the Con­vic­tion In­tegrity Unit has an ar­bi­trary five-day time­frame to solve each case. To un­der­line Hayes’ im­pul­sive, strong-willed bril­liance, she waltzes out of a fundraiser in full cock­tail dress and heads di­rectly to jail to in­ter­view a wrongly con­victed in­mate.

It all comes across as ran­dom non­sense from the ro­botic pen of some­one who kind of un­der­stands what hu­mans like but doesn’t quite ‘‘get it’’.

The Kennedys: Af­ter Camelot (Thurs­days, 8.30pm, Prime) is just as bad but in a very dif­fer­ent way. This four-part mini-se­ries is a drama­ti­sa­tion of the Kennedy fam­ily af­ter the mur­ders of John and Robert in the 1960s. And if you’re think­ing it’s odd to have a drama about a fam­ily where the two most fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties are al­ready dead – well, you’d be right. And odd is cer­tainly the theme for this one.

Here’s lovely Jackie Kennedy (Katie Holmes) em­bark­ing on a love af­fair with Greek ship­ping ty­coon Aris­to­tle Onas­sis (Alexan­der Sid­dig) laugh­ing and hold­ing hands on the beach. Here’s Teddy Kennedy (Matthew Perry) en­joy­ing a drink. ‘‘There’s go­ing to be a party’’ he tells his wife. ‘‘Where?’’ she asks. ‘‘Chap­paquid­dick,’’ he replies. Trou­ble ahead.

The Kennedys were a fas­ci­nat­ing fam­ily, un­doubt­edly blighted by tragedy. But this se­ries opts for the melo­dra­matic soapy feel of hey­day Dal­las or Dy­nasty. So much so it’s down­right laugh­able in parts.

‘‘Jarkie, rely on me …’’ says a hammed-up Onas­sis in one scene, in his golden dress­ing gown in his golden Parisian apart­ment. At least all that gold mo­men­tar­ily de­tracts from his ab­surd pros­thetic teeth.

If you’re af­ter a se­ri­ous, his­tor­i­cal in­sight into the Kennedys, for­get it. But if you’re in need of a laugh, it might just tick the box.

Con­vic­tion: maybe it was writ­ten by a ro­bot?

The Kennedys: Af­ter Camelot’s melo­dra­matic soapy feel will have you in stitches.

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