The South Westerlies
RTÉ's latest co-production lacks life. The problem is an uninteresting and uninspired local story that lacks the drama of the Water Charges or the Corib gas pipeline protests. A rural town is divided with the arrival of a Norwegian firm's plan to build wind turbines of the coast of Count Cork. The shows characters are not bad, but they are one dimensional, there might have been an opportunity for The South Westerlies to be something more that a series with a very blunt plot or they could have gone down the road of a lighthearted drama like ITV's Doc Martin. As a drama looking to explore local politics, national politics and international trade, it has no bite. The series is billed as a Comedy-Drama.
It is not like this form of protest doesn't have precedent in Irish society. The writers and producers just needed to look at the numerous documentaries produced on Corrib, even the bad ones, to get a feel for the people involved. Perhaps meet with them on their daily lives, when they aren't talking about the situation, to allow for a more natural segues into normal life, instead we get a very formal approach to the protests and a very light drama in terms of the day to day lives of the characters. This lack of juxtaposition between the fight to save the views and nature of the surrounding areas and the normal lives of the characters, leaves the first episode looking very shallow.
Where are the national politicians? Where are the police? Where is the fight?
The topic is also very bland, the arguments for and against the development are so similar that its hard to see any really motivational conflict, which side should the audience be on? The dastardly Norwegians trying to make money in wind energy in Ireland? or the dastardly protesting hippies who want to save the views, the tourism and the ecosystems.
Here we are given a big cast. Strong well know Irish actors who are drowning in a south westerlies storm of mediocre scripting.
There is also a sense that the series is being written on the basis of needing it to fit into a co-production, so that funding can be received from Norway. Did none many funders not question the painting by numbers script that only appeals to a co-producers rather then an audience willing to watch.
Kate (Orla Brady) returns to Carrigeen, she's returning home to spy on the locals and to provide information to the company she works for, Noreg Oil. A single mother she takes her twenty-something son, Conor (Sam Barrett) back with her. She there to try to convince the locals of the benifits of the plan following a number of protests in the town and to quash objections before the six-weeks appeals deadline. Publican and County Councillor "Big Mike" Kellegher (Patrick Bergin) is supportive of the moves, and much like other business people in the town, he is aware of money that will come in during the construction phase of the project.