Season 1 M-Net (*101) 23:25 Comedy
There literally is trouble in paradise in dark comedy Mad Dogs (2015-2016). Four 40-something college pals party at their buddy Milo’s (Billy Zane) villa in Belize, South America and that’s when things go wrong. Lies, murder, hijacked speedboats, hitmen in cat masks, dufflebags and drugdealers… and that was just in the first episode! “It looks like a place you’d want to go to and relax and hang out for a week,” says executive producer Shawn Ryan. “And then all this horrific stuff happens!” So why didn’t the 10-episode single-season US version (on M-Net) last four seasons like the UK version it’s based on (2011-2013)?
For starters, the first episode was released on video-streaming websites in January 2015 and the other nine episodes followed a year later in Jan 2016. “By that time, viewers had forgotten about it,” explains one source. “There is so much content being produced these days and a year is a ridiculous amount of time to wait.” It also didn’t help that it killed off Billy Zane, one of its most famous faces and the guy who starts the entire show, in the first episode.
Critics say that “despite there being a solid cast [Steve Zahn, Clark in drama Mind Games, 2014; Romany Malco, Conrad in comedy series Weeds, 2005-2012; Michael Imperioli, Chris Moltisanti in mob drama The Sopranos, 1999-2007; and Ben Chaplin, who played Billy Zane’s character in the UK Mad Dogs], it’s difficult to see them having anything in common other than what the script dictates and it’s difficult to bond with characters who’re not believable”. TV journalist Dennis Perkins adds that “the script stalls – it’s like a stop-start, stop-start rollercoaster and you don’t get the full experience that you were wanting, so you leave it alone”.
From left: Steve Zahn, Michael Imperioli, Romany Malco, Ben Chaplin and Billy Zane.