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TV Review: The Widow

Amazon Prime, Prime, The Widow, Drama, Thriller, Africa, Kate Beckinsale, Alex Kingston, Charles Dance

Synopsis: Georgia Wells has her life turned upside-down when she receives a phone call that her husband has died in a plane crash in the Congolese jungle. Three years later and still haunted by the past, Georgia travels to the Congo to find out the truth.

Amazon Prime, Prime, The Widow, Drama, Thriller, Africa, Kate Beckinsale, Alex Kingston, Charles Dance

Review: It feels like it has been forever since Kate Beckinsale headlined a major project. While she has been in a half dozen films over the last few years, 2012's TOTAL RECALL was the last major studio film she appeared in. Beckinsale has long been a talented actress with a great deal of potential, but aside from the UNDERWORLD franchise, she has never really tapped into her full Hollywood potential. While the current trend for big name actors to take roles in limited event series continues, Beckinsale tries her hand at a layered and intricate thriller with a wide reach in the form of The Widow. This 8 episode drama comes from British network ITV and Amazon Prime who are giving the global suspense story a worldwide platform when it debuts in March. The only problem is that The Widow is not all that suspenseful or thrilling. In fact, it is pretty boring.

For her first small screen role in a decade, Beckinsale plays Georgia Wells whose husband goes missing when his plane crashes in the Congo. Splitting the narrative between the plane crash three years earlier and today, the series follows as Georgia picks up her investigation when a photo of a man who could be her husband appears on the news. Travelling to the Congo where she aligns with some friends, Georgia starts to discover a conspiracy involving the plane crash. Along for the ride are familiar faces like Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (THE LAST WITCH HUNTER, THE MEG) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) as well as less familiar faces like Jacky Ido and Bart Fouche who all do a good job with the material, but there is only so far you can take a story like this.

The Widow bounces between the contemporary narrative and flashbacks along with some other subplots to try and drive home the sinister reason behind her husband's disappearance. The problem is, the story moves so slowly that it becomes hard to care about figuring out who orchestrated it and why. Couple that with some ridiculously telegraphed plot twists and you are left with one of the most vanilla television series in a long time. Showrunners Harry and Jack Williams echo the tone and format of their previous series Rellik and The Missing while adding in the African landscape. The timely nature of the political climate of the Congo is meant to add a prescient element to the story but instead feels like a wasted exercise in trying to make this story seem more important than it actually is.

There are multiple moments watching the series that were meant to provoke a reaction from the audience that left me unmoved. That is not to say that these scenes are poorly executed but the story never generates stakes that made me care enough about what comes next. In fact, there are whispers and reveals from a half dozen characters in the first episode that go unexplained for hours. In fact, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson's story seems to be disconnected from the main plot far longer than it should which will leave you spending more time trying to figure out where the threads connect than enjoying the show. Once the explanations are doled out, in very small increments, you then have to ask yourself why you are supposed to care at all.

Amazon Prime, Prime, The Widow, Drama, Thriller, Africa, Kate Beckinsale, Alex Kingston, Charles Dance

The Widow is an anomaly in our current Golden Age of Television in that it looks good and should be good but just isn't. It is weird to see all of these actors doing such a good job acting but none of it pulls together. Thankfully, this is designed as a limited series as I could not imagine it coming back to tell us more. If by any chance you are willing to give this a shot, I would wager that you either really like Kate Beckinsale or you are a glutton for punishment. If any of you make it past the third episode, let me know what motivated you to keep going. Once I finished that hour I found it tedious to continue. The Widow is a series that would have worked better as film with a streamlined narrative and a limited run time. As it is, this is a slog and not worth your time.

The Widow premieres March 1st on Amazon Prime.

Source: JoBlo.com

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