Comfort Streaming: Our Review of ‘The Mallorca Files’ on Britbox

Posted in Britbox, TV, What's Streaming? by - April 03, 2020
Comfort Streaming: Our Review of ‘The Mallorca Files’ on Britbox

When this review is coming out, the world is in bit of a chaotic place and there is a lot of uncertainty. Who’s to say how long that will last, but chances are there will always be some times, whether in one’s personal life or on a global scale, that comfort is sought through entertainment.

The Mallorca Files is British comfort television, boasting a time-worn setup, a safe blend of action, drama, and will they, won’t they romance. When this show is made stateside, it probably gets pick up one out of five times by a network, and probably doesn’t last long. When it’s done by Britain, it has a little bit more charm and intrigue, making it palatable and mostly predictable.

If you know that going in, then you won’t be disappointed. This show finds – hold your breath – a by-the-books detective, who’s young and beautiful, paired up with a more careful, shades of gray type detective, who is handsome and charming. She’s British, he’s German, and they’re investigating a series of murders and kidnappings and other crime things on the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca.

Miranda Blake (Elen Rhys) and Max Winter (Julian Looman), two people who sound like they are television detective characters, are utterly familiar people that you could find them in dozens of other shows. Thankfully both actors are little more interesting than their unimaginative character names. Perhaps it’s just a little more refreshing, or intriguing, as a North American viewer, to watch a stereotypical show that stars people with accents in an exotic locale. It doesn’t add a lot, but it adds enough and helps keeps the show from being mostly forgettable to nice on in the background.

Maybe there is a bit of commentary about the elite versus the working class and distribution of wealth, but that’s not really the point. It says a few things here and there that make it somewhat relevant, but not so much that it feels like we’re trying to be taught something. The same goes with gender roles and sexism. There are a few things once in a while that feel progressive, but then they’re buttressed by the traditional, uninspired storytelling that involves men and women in such shows.

And you can do much worse. The Mallorca Files know exactly what they are, and don’t try to pretend to be something bigger or weirder. There is usually a tense cliff-hanger or sorts at the end of each episode, and our heroes are in a surprising amount of near-death experiences with regularity. Yet somehow luck is always on their side – probably because they want to make a long running series.

There is value here. It’s a comfortable, middlebrow show that lots never say they really want, but that they often need. Pretty people, pretty scenery, and few twists and turns make for some empty calories and safe viewing.


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