Hot on the heels of Money Heist, comes Netflix’s latest offering from the creator of the Spanish juggernaut, White Lines. Set in the exotic locale of Ibiza, Spain, the Anglo-Spanish series sees a woman named Zoe upend her current life to go looking for her brother who has been missing for over 20 years. The show is the brainchild of Money Heist mastermind Alex Pina but also counts several of The Crown producers in the mix. With such a brilliant creative team behind the show, it would make sense for the product to be something akin to a series that takes the high stake, high octane action of Money Heist and mixes it with the prestige show drama of The Crown. However, those who were expecting to get the best of both worlds, like me, will likely be dumbfounded at how disastrous the results are.
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Mediocre crime drama
Initially, I’d persuaded myself to ignore how weak the trailer for White Lines looked and had been optimistic about watching the series in full. However, just three episodes in, it became apparent just what a mediocre show this was on all fronts. It was then that I changed my plans to write a long-form piece about this trainwreck of a show and limit my word count, as the realization had dawned on me that this was the rare show which had so little going for it, that I would be hard-pressed to find anything positive to report.
White Lines is what happens when you throw money at a bad idea and give it ten episodes to sink. I’m sure the actors in it are actually very talented individuals who shine in other films and shows. I’ve seen Laura Haddock (who plays the lead Zoe Walker) do a more convincing job in BBC’s Divinci’s Demons) and seen Juan Deigo Botto (who plays a disturbed millionaire) play a charming hitman in Good Behavior. Here, they, along with the entire ensemble commit to delivering performances so flat that you are left guessing what exactly happened to them during filming. None of the actors provide charismatic or even halfway decent performances. Nuno Lopes, who’s playing a more colourful character than others in the show, comes the closest to being a bit interesting but his character’s novelty wears off pretty soon.
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Not the new Money Heist
The Netflix Original is a mix of a crime drama and a murder mystery, and not excelling in either of them. As a big fan of both those genres, I was excited to step into Alex Pina’s new world after enjoying the twists and turns of his previous Spanish hit. Sadly, however, White Lines is a failure on every level. Without the wit and charm of Heist, and no engaging character to keep you interested, White Lines is a dud from the get-go and grows considerably more unwatchable as the series continues. The ten-episode series could have easily been trimmed to a 5 episode show which is especially proven given how the show peaks in its fifth episode of the season.
She will do anything it takes to catch her brother's killer.
From the creator of La Casa de Papel/Money Heist, get ready for White Lines — premiering tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/275qUdSpvL
— Netflix (@netflix) May 14, 2020
Somewhere on the drawing board of this show must have been a note about exploring Zoe’s decision to abandon her husband and kids on this mad quest. And yet, in reality, the show only briefly examines the toll it takes on her family or what her life was like before. To the show’s credit, it does manage to handle her deceased brother’s character in a surprising way but the reveal comes far too late for it to have an impact on our protagonist. White Lines is the kind of show that never fully explains why our protagonist is dumber than everyone around her. Despite showing her to be driven and resourceful, her character and certainly Haddock’s treatment of her, is so unjustly handled that Zoe remains the weakest part of the show.
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Enduring the ten episodes of the show doesn’t even provide a good payoff to allow you to be somewhat relieved. The unfocused handling of its large cast means that it fails to make the eventual murderer reveal to be as emotional as it could be. On the flip side, it doesn’t make the drugs and gangs in the show feel particularly menacing either.
Anyone attempting to give White Lines a go based on the pedigree of the creative force behind this, should probably prepare themselves for a disappointingly soapy telenovela. All of the power behind the screen, as well as the glossy look of the show, will not be mask what a jumbled mess of a show this is.