So, what is Hard Sun? A horror, Sci-Fi, or a simple “What If” drama?
I’ve watched all six episodes on BBC iPlayer and I still don’t have a full answer. What I can tell you is this.
DI Elaine Renko (Agyness Deyn) and DCI Charlie Hicks (Jim Sturgess) both have secrets, and not good at keeping them,. We meet them when they get forced together by their superiors.
They discover a digital government document called Hard Sun, a five year countdown to a British only apocalypse (seemingly). The series explores the themes of what would happen if we knew apocalypse was coming and how we as a nation would deal with it. All sounds a bit ‘Mulder & Scully’ so far doesn’t it?
How the rest of the world is dealing with this ‘shituation’?
It’s not explored, other than with throwaway lines. It’s difficult to see how the planet expects to react once the secret is out, and could be the subject of another series.
Hard Sun echoes with 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead as it looks at how the truth can hide in plain sight in that London. The larger weight of the more horrific and haunting imagery takes place in the middle episodes. Personal experiences explored later on. I wasn’t sure why this was the case as some of the plot strands seemed interchangeable? They could progress in any order with little impact on the narrative.
Are we lied to by our leaders? What would happen if we found ourselves in real national and international danger? When similar themes ran through Torchwood: Children of Earth, we found something closer to the truth. What would our leaders sacrifice to protect themselves or the majority from alien threat? But there’s no aliens here. There’s no Zombies. There’s the horror of our lives and impending doom. How Cheerful!
Worth a Watch?
There’s a lot to enjoy about this six-part series. A highlight was the powerful and unnerving soundtrack. There are also great realistic performances from the Agyness Deyn and Jim Sturgess. They aren’t presented as characters to relate to, just, people you might know.
And the final scene is as beautiful and depressing and ludicrous as you’d expect.
Hard Sun was first available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days from 6th January 2018.