The cast of this mega-budget dusk-to-dawn street-race drama is starry and diverse — a garrulous Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones), a typically intense Adrian Lester (Trauma) as a desperate dad intent on saving his son, and Adam Brody (The O.C.) playing the Fantasy Island-style owner of the possibly mythical destination that is nirvana for those trying to escape the totalitarian government which has imposed nightly curfews on the UK population. There’s also Phoebe Fox (Blue Iguana) as an ambulance driver with family secrets and Malachi Kirby (Roots) as an on-the-run victim of scientific experiments. Of all the competitors, Fox and Lester’s are the most compelling stories with Harriet Walter classy as ever as scientist and Kaye’s mother, Helen Newman. There’s even Billy Zane, sporting a Guy Ritchie-style flat cap and self-consciously sipping a dry martini.
The story is something of a blockbuster-genre shopping list. There are speed demons (Fast & Furious) deadly mutant creatures (A Quiet Place) and a boffin-made virus (any post-apocalypse box set on your watch list). Where the show best delivers is on the stunt work with high-speed inner-city (Liverpool doubling for London) chases involving armoured vehicles, a McLaren 570 GT, an overpass and a crowded market directed with cinematic flair by Peaky Blinders’ Colm McCarthy.
The first production from new indie drama company Moonage Pictures, Curfew is very watchable even if visually it sometimes looks like all the big bucks went on the set pieces. On the evidence of its opening episode, it remains to be seen whether the sum of its parts is enough to drive it past the finishing post.