Have you ever wondered what the world would do if a nuclear state, let’s say Pakistan, decided to say fuck it and just do whatever the fuck they wanted with no regards for the consequences? If the answer is yes then you’re in for some luck because the Brink tackled exactly that, with Jack Black’s doughy face fronting it all as well, how lovely.
There shall be spoilers for the Brink in this review so if you don’t wish to blow…what happens in season 1 then I’d recommend not reading any further.
You have to give it to HBO, they really know how to put a cast together for a TV show, to get Jack Black to do a series at all is quite remarkable, seeing as out with an appearance here and there he is very much the definition of a movie actor. Black plays lovable Talbot who works in the American Pakistani embassy and likes nothing more than banging broads and smoking some ganja, who can blame him? Talbot’s chemistry with Rafiq (Aasif Mandvi) was really top notch, their banter flowed like the Indus, and you could believe that they were genuine acquaintances and soon to be besties. Jack Black was Jack Black, he’s more likable than hilarious but he does have his moments, his sheer presence brings the show a prestige.
Speaking of bromances, how could you not love Z-Pak and Jammer? Easily the best on screen partnership on the show, they delivered every time, from high flights, to hanging with a couple of crazy Brits in their pleasure palace, there was hardly a wasted scene. Jammer flat out must have been the funniest character on the show, but maybe that’s just some southern charm working on me.
Tim Robbins as Walter Larson for me was the true main character; he pulled the strings and essentially portrayed to me what I believe Joe Biden is like in real life, also known as fucking awesome. He exuded cool, as he wheeled and dealed his way into stopping a nuclear holocaust and looked damn good whilst doing so. From striking deals, to pulling the ladies, Larson saved the day by bypassing the chain of command, all with kidney stones to boot, what a fella.
The good thing about the Brink’s use of their main characters is that one story thread didn’t feel more important than the others, yes they intertwined at points, but generally they stayed on the main separate. It’s maybe a bit hokey that all three groupings came out as the heroes, however making the story based upon one of the guys who runs away to the bunker is hardly going to make for good TV, is it?
Ultimately the Brink was a satire of world politics and how things can drastically change with the push of a button or the mind of a madman. There were areas where the writers could have went further than they did, however the one area which I feel they really excelled in was their use of American diplomats and politicians.
Pierce Gray as the war hungry Secretary of Defence and the equally war hungry generals, desperate for a war despite the fact that a diplomatic solution is potentially available is great and to be honest is often the way people view how America responds to these sorts of things, a table of war hungry men desperate to have their generations Vietnam or Iraq except this time it will work out.
It was also really refreshing to see the President portrayed as pretty useless, something which you don’t see enough of in American produced works. POTUS Navarro was pretty much what I’d imagine G.W. Bush would have been like in the Whitehouse, am indecisive and frightened little boy who is being ordered around by angry men who want to wave their dicks in front of the world’s face to show how big they are.
Another character I loved satirically was the US ambassador to Pakistan, with all his evangelical shit which kept getting in the way, as he oddly interpreted passages of the Bible so that he could explain why he was important to the world and so on. The best part of this is when they touch the helicopter down in the field and tell him it is too heavy and they need to get rid of the weight, only for him to boot the girls off, who he had previously believe to be some sign from god, because it would meant that he would otherwise have been left behind. It’s a brilliant satire on the bible bashers currently cursing American politics, who believe they talk to Jesus, only for their own livelihood or life to be put at risk for them to suddenly have a change of heart and have misread the signs, very good I’m sure Jesus would appreciate him sacrificing the seven children to save himself, because Christianity teaching is all about thinking about one’s self and not giving to others…or is that the Republican party line…I can’t remember…
Another area which I liked about the Brink was that it managed plot twists very well. The thing about shows with loads of plot twists is that it can become tiresome and forced after a while, yet because of the premise of the show (potential nuclear war) and the general chaos which that brings, it meant that they never felt forced and were reasonably believable.
That’s the thing about the Brink, it had a hell of a cast, who all performed to a high degree, great soundtrack, the premise of the show was fantastic, it was fairly funny and it hit on some satirical notes, yet as I sit here writing this it has been cancelled after an initial renewal, why? The honest answer is I don’t actually know. HBO are usually excellent at giving shows a chance to grow and find themselves, and the Brink had plenty of upside to work with. They even set up the next season with a gang of Eritrean’s finding the Pakistani nuclear warhead, but I guess it will have to now stand as a message of the threat never ends, which is a shame because I would have liked another season at the very least.
So were you sad to see the Brink get the old heave ho? Are you wondering what happened to Jammer and Zeke out on the desert, were they ever able to sell their sex doll and did Jammer get the number for that crazy Scottish chick? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts of yours and anything else you want, maybe a nice picture of a cat or something.
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