The Australians are pretty good at knocking out decent TV shows, so when One Night dropped on Paramount+, I was pretty keen to watch it.
That is largely because of the stellar cast, including Jodie Whittaker, Nicole da Silva, and Yael Stone.
It promised intrigue, the unraveling of dark secrets, and a well-told story about three friends and one night that changed their lives. I was in.
But was my optimism short-sighted, or is the drama a must-watch gem on the streaming platform?
What Is One Night About?
Simone's life is a bit chaotic. She's single, cares for her father, who has Alzheimer's, and has been attempting to write a novel for years.
With an agent and a publishing house ready to hit the print button, she has second thoughts when her childhood friend Tess returns to Australia with her wife Vicki.
Realising that she has written a book about actual traumatic events of one night 20 years ago, even though she said it was a work of fiction, she instead decides to publish it anonymously, hoping that nobody will figure out it was her.
The problem is that the book is about one fateful night when out partying with Tess and their friend Hat (who was working in a bar at the time) when Tess was assaulted.
Having told nobody about the book, it goes on to a big hit, and soon Tess and Hat realise the book is about them. And a local crime family who still live in the area. That's when everything hits the fan.
Allegations made in the book are only based on Simone's memories of the night, which isn't necessarily the reality of the events that unfolded.
So what really happened? Who assaulted Tess, and can the three women ever escape that one night in their small coastal community in New South Wales all those years ago?
One Night Official Trailer
Is One Night Worth Watching?
It promised so much, and with only six episodes, you would expect the story and the execution of it to be a tightly wound spring ready to explode with answers and revelations as it reaches its conclusion.
Not so, I'm afraid. It's a hodge-podge of so many flashbacks, blurred memories, slo-mo shots, and snippets of information that you feel dizzy just watching it.
With scenes narrated with passages from the books, endless images of crashing waves, and absolutely nobody willing to have a single conversation that doesn't result in an argument, you genuinely spend your time wondering what on earth is going on.
The plot belies reason and reality. After all, who would write a book about their friend's sexual assault and NEVER even tell them? Or ask if it's ok??
Or, at any point, wonder if their own account, cobbled together from 20-year-old drunken memories, was even mildly accurate? And then allege, from a five-second glance, that you know who committed the crime – and publish it for all the world to read about? Come on.
Once you start a drama on a basis so fundamentally flawed, you can't expect any reasonable viewer to go on the journey with you. And when they do, they don't even get any clarity with the ending.
Throw in a dodgy Australian accent from Whittaker, a waste of the talents of Kat Stewart, a really annoying teenage girl, and a sleazy ex-con who screams ‘I did it' with every word that comes out of his mouth, and all you end up with is a terrible drama and a waste of your time.
Cast Of One Night TV Series
Created and written by Emily Ballou, Catherine Millar and Lisa Matthews, direct One Night with the following cast members.
Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) as Tess, one of three friends who has returned to Australia with her family and must confront her past if she wants to move on with her life.
- Mikaela Binns-Rorke as young Tess
Nicole da Silva as Simone, a novelist who still harbours secret hopes that she can renew her teenage budding romance with Tess.
- Bridgette Armstrong as young Simone
Yael Stone as Hat, now a solicitor with a young family whose life is in jeopardy when the book is published anonymously.
- Bella Ridgway as young Hat
George Mason as Joey
- David Howell as young Joey
Erroll Shand as Trevor
- Shane Osborne as young Trevor
Damien Strouthos as Mark, Hat's husband
Kat Stewart as Vicki, Tess' wife
Tina Bursill as Helen, Tess' mother
William Zappa as Don, Hat's father
Noni Hazlehurst as Mary, Joey and Trevor's mother
Harper Simon as Lily, Tess and Vicki's daughter
Les Hill as Detective Clemens
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