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Stories about bad people

From “The Pale Horse” (BBC / Amazon Prime Video). Boring.

Regular readers here know that there are certain kinds of stories that just don’t interest me. The largest category would be stories set in the here and now. But there’s another category as well: stories about bad people.

“The Pale Horse,” from BBC One (2020), now streamable from Amazon Prime Video, is that kind of story. The production is good, and the cast is excellent. It’s a nice period piece. But there is not a single character who is fit to like, with the exception of Clemency Ardingly, who has only a bit part. Even the detective is a bad guy — a bully. The men are jerks. The women are snarky and shallow. The witches glare and always look threatening.

People who are dysfunctional make similarly poor stories. The first example that comes to mind is “Trainspotting.” It was a popular film, but I stopped watching after about five minutes because the characters were so dysfunctional. Dysfunction is not interesting.

A story needs at least one character who is someone we can like. And then as long as there is at least one such character, bring on the villains.


  1. Chenda wrote:

    Hi David Recently saw a good BBC crime series on Netflix called The Serpent. Based on a true story based in the 1970s travel scene in Thailand. First few episodes are a bit slow but gets really good.

    Friday, July 8, 2022 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Chenda: Thank you! I will check it out…

    Friday, July 8, 2022 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

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