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Entertainment Review: Darby And Joan

In a youth-obsessed age, older actors, particularly women, find themselves almost put out to pasture. So, it is delightful to watch a series Darby And Joan, starring veterans Bryan Brown and Greta Scacci.

Australian actor, Byran Brown now in his mid-seventies and Greta Scacci in her early sixties look comfortable in their skins, and make no attempt to look younger. Darby And Joan is a term used to describe an elderly and happy couple, and the two attractive stars make a fine pair—though they are strangers when the first meet—in the series created by Glenys Rowe and  Phillip Gwynne.

Set on scenic locations n Australia’s picturesque Gold Coast, the eight-part series begins with Joan Kirkhope (Scacci) arriving from the UK to Australia to look into her husband’s mysterious death; what he was doing in the country’s outback for one, when he was supposed to be in Barcelona. She runs into retired cop, Jack Darby (Brown) and his dog Diesel, and being at a loose end, he decides to help her retrace the steps of her husband. Jack is a taciturn loner (he had run off leaving a bride at the altar), and Joan a chatterbox, with a nurse’s tendency to help people and the curiosity to solve the mysteries they encounter on the way. Both have a grown up daughter each, and both want their independence from the worry and fuss of their children. When her daughter arrives to take her back to  London, Joan resists vociferously, accusing her of using her mother as a free babysitter.

Joan and Jack don’t fight crime as an alternative profession, but because they want to be useful. Their age gives them an in where regular cops don’t succeed and people talk easily to them. They bicker a lot, and are obviously incompatible, but it is clear that attraction will flare up over time.

On their long road trip, they encounter all kind of people—killers, a crooked cop, a surfer who was doped by a jealous rival, a missing autistic kid–  and see the others’ strengths and weaknesses up close.They also clarify their own plans for the future in their autumn years.

The two actors who have worked together before are friends in real life, which does help spark up their scenes together. If a Season 2 has not been commissioned already, it should be.

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best-known entertainment journalists. A National Award-winning fim critic and author of several books on film and theatre. She tweets at @deepagahlot

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