Mad Dogs

Sea­son 1 M-Net (*101) 23:25 Com­edy

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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.

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