Mistresses Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

b00ht596_512_288MISTRESSES, BBC 1, Tuesday 17th February 9.00pm Alert Me

Mistresses is what Sex and the City could have been.

The basis is pretty similar – both follow a group of women of a certain age with slightly different backgrounds, jobs, etc. in their search for love and their battle with the male enemy. The difference is that Mistresses isn’t just entertainingly silly, it’s actually got the glimmer of damn good television nestled amongst its ample bosoms.

It is infinitely darker and grittier. In Sex and the City, one felt the worse that could happen was that a heel would break or mascara would smudge. In Mistresses, there’s a sense of real danger and the world-engulfingly important matter of sex is faced head on rather than glossed over.

I’m probably a bit of a latecomer to Mistresses, having not watched the first series, but Mistresses manages the rare feat of not leaving you feeling totally lost on picking up with the second series, merely mildly lost. True I don’t really understand why one of the couples lives together but hasn’t had sex in eighteen months, nor why another of the characters is looking for a new start in a comparatively junior position – but it doesn’t actually matter, in fact it might even make the drama all the more delicious as last series’ story line unravels itself alongside this season’s.

Where Mistresses does fall down, it is in the moments when it does stray into Carrie et al’s territory. There’s one mind-numbingly boring scene in which the main girls are talking about sex with cushions and wine and things and it’s frankly the worst part of the show. I understand that Sex and the City was some kind of liberating TV show in its time, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for openly sexualised, but still strong, female characters, but it’s got to the point where it’s just cringeworthy whenever a group of women sit around calling men “tasty” and “cheeky”.

Anyway, don’t let that little blip put you off. It is only one scene of many, really, and the rest of Mistresses is some fairly high standard British drama.

By Chris Harding