With a pedigree that includes Six Feet Under and Dexter, Michael C. Hall has never retreated from risky projects, but his new series Safe certainly would never be characterized in that way. A case of honesty in advertising if nothing else, the UK-set Netflix series that launches May 10 is almost entirely without distinction except in how by the book it mostly is. Clearly coming out of the streaming service’s algorithm and the desire to snare an obvious talent like Hall, the series’ risk-averse approach ultimately offers few rewards in today’s intensely competitive television landscape.
Let me be clear: It’s not that the eight-episode tale of a teen gone missing from an affluent gated community — and the subsequent search and revelations by her widowed pediatric surgeon father, played by Hall — is bad. Rather, the problem with Safe, as I say in my video review above, is that it plays things so safe, and is so uneventful. Beside American Hall’s unsteady (to put it politely) British accent, the series from Shameless vet Danny Brocklehurt and created by prodigious crime novelist Harlan Coben is so like so much of the sordid middle-class underbelly drama that has come before from that side of the Atlantic in the decades since the debut of Prime Suspect.
If you are jonesing for a fix of Happy Valley or Broadchurch, the Thursday-premiering Safe might take the edge off for a bit. But Hall or not, and despite solid-ish performances from Sherlock alum Amanda Abbington and Hannah Arterton as local detectives, it won’t keep the Brit Grit dragon at bay for long.
Check out more of my take on Safe in my video review above and tell us what you think of the Netflix and Canal+ co-production. Will you be watching?