Eternal Law Review: Flightless

ETERNAL LAW: Thursday 5th January, ITV1, 9pm

If it wasn’t for bonus-hoarding bankers and phone-hacking hacks, lawyers could well be the most stereotypically unpopular group of people in Britain. This perception has always offered a rich seam of comedy and ITV’s idea of introducing a supernatural edge to the genre (ala Being Human) is a sound one, so a drama about angelic lawyers adorned with big shiny wings dishing out love and justice (oh the contradiction!) should have legs.. or wings rather.

Yet for all the imagination thrust at this new ITV drama, the outcome was a rather confused and slightly dull bluster through a mundane murder case. The script might be sprinkled with ‘outrageous’ swear words and bad behaviour but that only added to the bizarre mix of comedy and “grittyâ€? crime drama.

Samuel West (son of Timothy as opposed to tuna mogul John), was excellent as the seasoned and cynical Gist. But at times it felt as if the duo behind the series, who also created Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars, were a little too keen to find a new Gene Hunt. Making angels swear, drink and smoke is funny but the “I don’t give a rat’s fart what you think you pompous little singing t**tâ€? line felt a little on the contrived side. Overall, the combination of serious crime drama and brandy-swigging angel antics made for a rather confused hour.

After being teamed with old hand Zac Gist (Samuel West), newcomer to the angelic bar, Tom Greening (Ukweli Roach), got straight to work “helping the community and trying to understand the human conditionâ€?. A rooftop rifle attack on a newlywed groom was no match for the unlikely pair who emerged triumphant after a few plot twists and a bit of divine intervention left a small girl in the frame.

The bottom line? The murder case itself was rather dull. Whilst this was only episode one and there is most certainly time for things to develop, the lack of any overarching storyline (other than the fact that they are angels) combined with lack lustre murder cases, may result in a rather repetitive formula which lacks any real bite.

The setting for all these sinister goings-on? A marketplace in the historic city of York, of course. The impressive cathedral makes an appropriate backdrop for the religious undertones, granted. But upon realising that this is the setting for the entire series, one wonders if York will really provide the grittiest of neighbourhoods for the angels to fulfil their aim of “spreading harmonyâ€?.

Admittedly, there were funny moments and making the heaven-sent pair defence lawyers for the accused was a nice twist on what could have been a wholly predictable set up. But this series will need to try a little harder if it wants to keep hold of a dedicated congregation for all six episodes.