We humans are endlessly
fascinated with relationships: who's getting together with whom, whose
relationship just broke up, who's on the lookout for somebody new. The
storyline of two people finding true love after a series of trials and tribulations
is one of the oldest and most popular ones out there. For all we know, maybe
that's one of the meanings of cave paintings ("And look how many antelopes
I had to kill before she'd even look twice at me!").
In any case, the British series
Bob & Rose picks up its story in familiar territory: man and woman
meet by chance, or perhaps destiny, and a relationship begins to develop... but
is it love? Will it last? Here, that story is complicated by the fact that
while Rose (Lesley Sharp) is heterosexual (though not unattached, as she
already has a boyfriend of sorts), Bob (Alan Davies) is most definitely gay.
You'd think that would put a stop to any romance between the two of them, but
the story that develops over the six episodes of Bob & Rose shows
that sometimes life can be more surprising than you'd think.
Written by Russell Davies, the
creator of Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose is reasonably well done;
the show looks polished, and the performances are uniformly realistic. Both the
lead actors manage to bring their characters to life as real people whose lives
and emotions are believable; there's also a convincing chemistry between them.
I've noticed in general that the stars of British shows are much more likely to
look like "regular" people than those of U.S. shows: the cast of Bob
& Rose is made up of actors who are attractive, but in a normal way,
not a Hollywood glamorized way: they're the kind of people who could believably
be your co-worker or your neighbor. As such, it's one more element that makes Bob
& Rose distinctive.
If this were a feature film
instead of a series, I think that I'd have liked Bob & Rose reasonably
well; the story between the two characters is straightforward but interesting,
and their relationships with the secondary characters, like Rose's mother and
Bob's friend Holly, add a bit more depth to the story as well. But as it is,
the story does feel like it's been stretched a bit too thin over the six
48-minute episodes. Each episode is reasonably self-contained, focusing on one
segment of Bob and Rose's evolving relationship, while also moving the overall
story forward... although "two steps forward and one or two steps
back" is more like it. While I can see that the filmmakers wanted to take
their time to develop the material, several of the ups and downs in the series
feel like artificial roadblocks.
While Bob & Rose
seems to be marketed as comedy, it's much more like somewhat soap-opera-style
drama; there are some moments of humor here and there, but certainly no
deliberately funny scenes or laugh-out-loud moments. It never really clicked
for me, perhaps because I was never particularly interested in the "club
scene" that is such an important part of the characters' social lives, but
it's not badly done and is certainly watchable.
I can't offer any comments on
the packaging of Bob & Rose, since the company sent only screener discs and
not the retail packaging; in my review copy, the six episodes were split
between two DVDs.
Bob & Rose is
presented in a nice anamorphic widescreen transfer, at its original 1.85:1
aspect ratio. Colors and contrast look good throughout the episodes, with
natural-looking skin tones and bright, vibrant colors. Some edge enhancement is
present, though it's not terribly obtrusive. What's more noticeable is the
presence of a substantial amount of noise, appearing consistently throughout
the episodes. All in all, it's a solid transfer but one that could have looked
The dialogue-focused soundtrack
does fine with the Dolby 2.0 soundtrack that's provided; the actors' voices are
always clear and easy to understand. Some scenes could have benefited quite a
bit from more channels of surround, but on the whole the stereo track is well
suited to the show. The music is well balanced with the rest of the track.
Fans of the show will be most
interested in the two audio commentary tracks, for episodes 1 and 4. Actor Alan
Davies (Bob) and writer Russell Davis collaborate here, and do a reasonable job
of discussing the show. A short "production notes" section fills in
some background on Davis as well.
Most likely, viewers who enjoy
relationship dramas will enjoy Bob & Rose. It's reasonably well
done, though I found that the story was stretched a bit too thin over six
episodes. It's a good rental choice, or a purchase if you've enjoyed writer
Russell Davies' other work; the solid anamorphic widescreen transfer and audio
commentaries will please both casual viewers and fans of the show.