I’ll give it to you straight: Hard Sun is ambitious, ultra-violent and bleak as hell — but it isn’t quite worth watching.
The new series, which comes to Hulu on March 7, was penned and created by Neil Cross, the writer-producer behind Luther. But don’t get your hopes up: As badly as Hard Sun wants to be characterized as a dystopian thriller, it’s mostly just a supremely violent, very convoluted episode of Law & Order. with English accents.
The title itself describes a world extinction event, where the sun — so tired of being the center of the universe — up and dies. In five years, life on earth will be wiped out. But instead of focusing on pre-apocalyptic fare, Hard Sun pivots and focuses on serial killers and the cops chasing them.
At its center are Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Hicks (Jim Sturgess) who consistently makes poor, incomprehensible decisions for no reason other than they move the most inconceivable of the subplots along. But only on a surface level. Hicks’ motivation for being the police force’s biggest dick seems to be that he’s just another scummy antihero behaving badly, in the vein of the Luthers and Don Drapers before him. As if we don’t get that men have a history of taking what they want, when they want it.
Hicks’ new partner, Agyness Deyn’s Detective Inspector Elaine Renko, is better, but not good enough to save the series. She has the requisite tortured past and is morally opposite from Hicks in every way. For Renko, Deyn hunches her shoulders forward at all times, the weight of the world settled firmly on her shoulders. She’s a good guy, and Hard Sun wants to make sure you know it — like when she dons a pair of brass knuckles before hand-to-hand combat. Because, didn’t you know? Guns are just for the bad guys. This isn’t America, after all.
But even with two very distinct characters, the series falters. That’s because bold as it is to take what could be a very good, very successful premise and get carried away with the gory minutiae of it all instead, it’s not very interesting. Who’d have thought!
Though it’s tempting to keep on with Hard Sun to see where its myriad plots will go, it’s not worth it. Maybe spend six hours bingeing anything else instead.