The BBC Press Office says of Burn Up, its latest drama, made in conjunction with a Canadian company and featuring attractive Canadian locations*, that it is “a highly authored piece wholly of this unique moment in time.”
Don’t ask me.
Anyway, AA Gill of the Times says:
This gem of the scriptwriter’s craft was brought to us courtesy of Burn Up (Wednesday/Friday, BBC2), the hugely expensive and very Canadian and cavernously vacuous thriller about Kyoto and global warming that starred Adam from Spooks and Josh from The West Wing. Watching it was a bit like being manacled to the table at a Notting Hill dinner party, or being lectured by a vegan vitamin salesman.
The finger-wagging about global warming was relentless and unabating, all couched in the comfy velour of the edge-of-history and watershed gibberish. The goodies were witty, brilliant, sensitive, imaginative, attractive, sexy and great dancers – rather, I suspect, like the scriptwriters. The baddies were, well,they were all American. This was film-making from the Soviet school of political subtlety, a childishly black-and-white premise, delivered with a patronising blog of a script, which overwhelmed the plot, pace, anything resembling a character and, finally, the audience’s sympathy.
And Kevin O’Sullivan of the Mirror says:
The end of the world is nigh. Americans are baddies . The oil business is terribly awful. Invest in windmills… before it’s TOO LATE.
Preaching the kind of dreary ecoorthodoxy that soppy actors just love, BBC2’s lukewarm Burn Up was stupefying.
I was a little worried that the BBC might forget to insert the evil Christians into the first episode as made de rigeur by the first episodes of Spooks and Bonekickers. But Mike McNally was able to reassure me:
Battling Holly for Tom’s soul is oil lobbyist Mack, played by The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford. Mack is essentially JR Ewing without the good points, and in case the viewer should be in any doubt as to the extent of his moral bankruptcy, in one of Burn Up’s many gratuitously America-bashing scenes Mack is shown watching a faith healer at work on cable TV, and exclaiming, with tears in his eyes, “Praise the Lord!” It’s not bad enough that he’s a shill for the oil industry — he’s a Bible-bashing shill for the oil industry.
*I want to be positive where I can.