Odyssey is a new biopic series on a band who were fantastic, back in their day. They kicked off in 1977 with the dancefloor-filler Native New Yorker, which made No.5 over here in the UK, but are probably best known for their No.1 1980 track, Use It Up and Wear It Out, later covered by the Ivor Novello-award-winners Pat and Mick, ten years later when they made No.22 in 1990.
(reads synopsis and actually starts watching the programme)
Okay, so Odyssey, aka American Odyssey, as is its title in the United States of American, is centred on Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel, looking hot as ever), a member of US Task Force 24 who’ve killed apparent baddie Abdul Abbas, even though it turns out they were looking for his wife. She’s the sole female operative amongst a group of macho macho men… yes, they want to be big macho men.
On looking at the family laptop after the event, there’s a stack of information. As Odelle comments in amusement, “This is why I love Al-Qaeda. They keep such accurate records”, she notices a wire transfer for $30.5m, going from Riyad to Mali, but more to the point, it’s beent sent by SOC, a US mining company who’ve been paying Abbas.
Also getting caught up in all this are two men, firstly Peter Decker (Peter Facinelli), an investment banker working for a merger involving SOC, but there’s expensive dodgy dealings afoot! Given how he used to be a District Attorney, and being all-American, he just can’t stop trying to do the right thing, even when faced with opposition here and there. And the third is rich-lad-trying-to-be-middle-class-protester at the Occupy-like G8 protests in New York, Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson), who can’t seem to choose between girlfriend Anna (Tala Ashe) or journalist Ruby (Daniella Pineda), both of whom are insanely hot!
BBC2 showed the first two episodes – Gone Elvis and Oscar Mike – together, but will continue the run at one episode per week.
I did enjoy watching Odyssey, but it’s not without some typical Hollywood cliches, namely (and put on a deep voice for the first one):
- Odelle is a lone crusader in a dangerous world… in her bid to expose corrupt government due to a situation you see early on, leaving her the only member of her unit alive.
- There’s obsessive conspiracy theorist Bob Offer (Nate Mooney) who thinks the government are up to no good – and you just know he’ll be proved right!
- And when Odelle was in the same room with her captor’s son, Aslam, he refuses to take her with him away from it all, so she threatened to bluff the Ansar Dine that he helped her escape, and would spill the beans about where he’s going, which leads him to point his gun at her, threatening to kill her? She tells him to go ahead because if he leaves her there for when the Ansar Dine arrive, it’s as good as pulling the trigger. Oh, pur-lease!
- Also, people go missing… people get bumped off… and… you just can’t trust anyone!!!
Elsewhere in the cast, fans of The Affair (if there are any), will spot Oscar Hodges, aka Darren Goldstein, who works alongside Peter Decker. And it’s always good to see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, still best known to me as Simon Adebisi in powerful prison drama, Oz.
One amusing line came, when trying to pass for a native in Mali, West Africa, Aslam tells Odella, “your accent is not good”. Surely, he’s referring to Ms Friel’s American accent? 😉
Odyssey? American Odyssey? # Let’s call the whole thing off… #
Overall, this is an engaging piece of television drama, despite its cliched shortcomings, so it’s one which I will stick through for the whole 13 episodes.
Odyssey continues next Sunday on BBC2 at 9pm.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 8/10
Director: Peter Horton
Producer: Devin Rich
Writers/Creators: Adam Armus, Kay Foster and Peter Horton
Sound: John Debney
Odelle Ballard: Anna Friel
Peter Decker: Peter Facinelli
Harrison Walters: Jake Robinson
Ron Ballard: Jim True-Frost
Suzanne Ballard: Sadie Sink
Aslam: Omar Ghazaoui
Bob Offer: Nate Mooney
Sarah Decker: Sarah Wynter
Maya Decker: Elena Kampouris
Ruby Simms: Daniella Pineda
Frank Majors: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Colonel Stephen Glen: Treat Williams
Joe Abrams: Darren Goldstein
Rose Offer: Jayne Houdyshell
Alex: Jay O Sanders
Frank MacDonald: Sherman Augustus
Anna Stone: Tala Ashe
Danny Gentry: Forrest Weber
Josh Decker: Robert Radochia
James: Jonathan Fielding
Captain Worthington: Christian Contreras
Russell: Matthew Delamater
Don Fenton: Ian Lyons
Janine Gentry: Therese Plaehn
Reporter Stacey Gold: Danae Nason
Tom Sherman: Jason Frazer
Tania: Bianca De La Garza
WXNE News Anchor: Rena Maliszewski
Aslam’s Father: Fouad Mansour
Salter: Derek Siow
Diwa: Ilham Oujri
Diwa’s Friend: Chaimae Ejjbiri
3rd Woman with Diwa: Fatima Harakat
Interpreter: Oualid Mezouar
Osela Soldier #1: Tommie Earl Jenkins
Osela Soldier #2: Joe Corrigall
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.