I’m a big fan of BBC crime and detective series, and frequently buy DVD sets containing those series. I first started watching them on A&E — Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, and others. My wife and I love them because we get to match wits as the shows progress. We make a game of it and usually have dinner while watching an episode on DVD so we can pause the show and make our guesses at different points.
Hustle is an English series shown on the BBC, but it’s not a whodunit. Instead, it’s a delightfully funny and fun series about a band of long con artists and their adventures. They are entertaining to watch, and so absorbing that they’re usually over far too quickly, well before you’re ready for everything to work out. So far there have been three seasons and the fourth is being shot now. Usually each season runs six episodes long. The third season has been released on DVD in the UK, but we're only getting to the second season here in the US.
The jazzy musical stylings on the DVD interface told me immediately that I was going to have a good time with season one even though the characters were obviously going to be risking their necks while putting their cons together. There was just something about the theme music that made me feel happy, like Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood,” from the swing era. That song seems to turn up in a lot of movies of all genres. The theme song’s happy-go-lucky sound with a slightly naughty edge continues throughout the soundtrack of all the episodes, and adds to the overall enjoyment of the series.
All six of the episodes were great. The action and the drama are always high, and the way the characters work together and against each other enhance the storyline. Not everything goes smoothly for them. There’s always a wrinkle of some sort, always something unforeseen that comes up. It’s a hoot watching them work through the problems they have, and you get so drawn in that you can’t help choosing sides.
Robert Vaughn (yep, from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) stars as Albert Stroller – and you can tell with a name like that you’re going to have a blast with this series. I mean the name pretty much sets up the character: someone who just strolls through life with a classy, I-don’t-care-what’s-going-to-happen attitude that is infectious – especially in this television series. Vaughn pulls this role off effortlessly, like it’s a favorite set of clothes he wears whenever he wants to play. Stroller is the one who sets up the mark and brings him into the con, and you can tell that Vaughn is having an absolute hoot in the role.