DVD Review: Dates
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3/5 Dates, the London-set Channel 4 drama from Skins creator Brian Elsley, has quite a lot to live up to with its imminent DVD release, after premiering to critical acclaim in the summer. Being described as “classy” and “a little nugget of bliss” in the mainstream press, Dates focuses on the unstable and potentially sinister sphere of London singletons vs. online dating, and aims to capture “out of the norm dating scenarios.” Although there are no in the norm dating scenarios, of course, and the feelings presented here are actually very much of the norm: miscommunication, nervousness, confusion; all punctuated with indecisive chatter. Dates has been praised for sensitively showing characters at their most vulnerable, and there is no doubt that it does this. However, I do think that at times the characterisation is slightly lazy – why do all northerners in London have to be bubbling and nervous and lost on the tube, for example? Who actually moves here and gets lost on the DLR, as Sheridan Smith admits to doing “several times” in the second episode? Other characters snipe at each other, ostensibly because they’re being ‘guarded’ – but it occasionally feels like they need to get over their neurosis and start acting like the 20/30/40-something adults that they are. We’re not in Skins anymore; characters can’t successfully get away with being as self-absorbed as 17-year-olds.
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