Saturday, October 28, 2017

Now on Hulu: Harlots, Season 1 (2017)

Harlots, Season 1 (2017) - Created by Moira Buffini, Alison Newman; Starring Samantha Morton, Jessica Brown Findlay, Dorothy Atkinson, Kate Fleetwood, Eloise Smyth, Holli Dempsey, Lydia Quigley, Lesley Manville.

By Kenny Howell

Harlots is kind of caught between two things, and isn't really striving too hard to be either of them.

It, in a way, wants it both ways. It wants to be a period piece about a brothel in 18th century, but it also wants to be a contemporary, trashy soap opera, with a modern score pumping over the more dramatic moments. It leans more toward the former, which is better, but those little elements creep in every once in awhile.

It's surprising that creators Moira Buffini and Alison Newman are able to pull it off for the most part. That is mostly because of the great actors involved like Samantha Morton (The Harvest) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Jamaica Inn). Morton plays Margaret Wells, a madam of a slightly lower class brothel. She competes with a higher end establishment, where Findlay's Charlotte works, run by the ruthless Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville). The series plays out as a battle of powers between the two women and the women they employ.

Harlots is good to go for a second season, so I will be interested to see if it settles into either side of what it wants to be. Luckily, what it is, is not all that bad.

The entire first season of Harlots is now streaming on Hulu.

Rating: **1/2

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