April 18, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Tatau”


TATAU:  Saturday 10PM on BBCAmerica

BBCAmerica only has two showcase slots to launch new series, those being the hours after Dr. Who and Orphan Black, so with plenty of time to prepare for the return of the latter, it’s difficult to understand how the network ended up handing the space over to TATAU, a picturesque piffle that seems to exist only to prove the BBC can be as schlocky as anyone else.

The premise contrived by writer Richard Zajdlic is out of a thousand B-movies:  Brits Kyle (Joe Layton) and his pal Budgie (Theo Barklem-Biggs), a pair of what Americans would call frat boys, head to an island in the South Pacific to relax on the beach, flirt with the womenfolk, and generally laze around.  One night, the two try the local psychogenic brew, and in the course of his trip, Kyle sees an image of a beautiful woman in a red dress–then, the next morning, he sees her again while snorkeling… only this time she’s dead in the water, her body weighed down by a brick.  Will it surprise you to hear that by the time the authorities are called, the body has disappeared?  Or that Kyle eventually identifies her as the daughter of a powerful island family?  The big reveal at the end of the first episode is that the girl is very much alive, causing Kyle to conclude that in his visions, he’s actually been seeing the future.

There’s no more to Tatau than that, aside from some lovely location photography (the direction is by Wayne Yip).  Kyle’s character does a lot of blundering and doing exactly what he’s just been told not to do, and Budgie is no more than a sidekick, although he’s been given a sub-subplot about owing a lot of money back in Britain.  No doubt those who stick around for the rest of the 8 hours will learn that the islanders are hiding plenty of secrets (there’s already been a reference to The Wicker Man), and that something disreputable is afoot.  For the rest of us, 8 hours will seem like 6 1/2 too many, and the mystery greater than Kyle’s second sight and the fate of the woman in red is how BBCAmerica was unable to find anything better to air in one of the few slots of its schedule certain to garner some attention.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."