Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond - Episode 1

Opening in Jamaica during Ian Fleming's (Dominic Cooper) honeymoon where the man has just finished his first James Bond novel, BBC's new four-part mini-series takes a look back and the series of events that led the womanizing failed stockbroker to that moment and the real-life adventures the crafted James Bond. After the brief intro the first episode jumps back to England on the eve of WWII and Fleming's recruitment by Naval Intelligence whose connections, reckless disregard for orders, and imaginations might help them win the war.

The opening hour of the mini-series introduces us to several of the key supporting characters, many of whom bare striking resemblance to various characters in Fleming's novels. Along with the very M-like Rear Admiral John Godfrey (Samuel West) we get the reliable Second Officer Monday (Anna Chancellor) and a pair of love interests in the beautiful blonde Muriel Wright (Annabelle Wallis) and the dark temptress Ann O’Neill (Lara Pulver). The series also throws in Rupert Evans as Ian's more reliable older brother and Lesley Manville as his disapproving mother.

I'm always going to be a fan of Pulver's casting, and Cooper proves he might have what it takes to play a more famous British spy somewhere down the road. Chancellor is well-suited to the role of the woman who would inspire Moneypenny, and Wallis makes the most of the short-straw by drawing the Bond Girl we know whose end is likely to be pretty. And with the war finally becoming real with the bombing of London it will be interesting to see how much of the character's, and the series', laissez faire attitude remains intact as Fleming begins his role as a spy.

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