Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Hightown is the latest murder mystery from Starz and with a distinct lack of mystery and very few murders, this is certainly not one to remember. Propped up by two unlikable protagonists who learn nothing from their journey across the 8 episodes, Hightown loses any chance of redemption at the end by leaving things wide open for a second season.
Before we get there though, the main plot line in this first season revolves around a down and out cop called Jackie. Stuck in a downward spiral of drinking and drugs, not helped by the opioid crisis hitting town, she eventually loses her licence and is forced into working freelance to investigate a murder that’s rocked the town.
That murder happens to be to a drug-user called Sherry and after being shown this early on in the first episode (including a view of exactly who killed her) it’s up to Jackie and disgruntled cop Ray to track down the one responsible.
Only, we already know who killed Sherry and with the “why” resolved midway through the show too, a lot of Hightown’s run-time is consumed by a cat and mouse game as our characters try to catch Sherry’s killer. Along the way there’s also a wild card in the form of Krista Collins, a girl who witnessed the murder originally, along with a fisherman’s son called Junior who’s involved at the heart of this. Unfortunately neither of these characters are given a satisfying conclusion to their arcs at the end.
All of this is made worse by both Jackie and Ray’s flawed characters. On the one hand, I completely understand why they’ve been written in the way they have but there’s no redeeming features here at all. Jackie looks like she’s about to repent for her actions after almost killing a girl in a drink and drive accident but by the end of the season she’s back to her old tricks, having learned nothing from this ordeal.
Ray meanwhile engages in a questionable romance with strip club worker Renee, someone who has ties to the men he’s tracking down in this case. The romance drags on throughout the season and meets a predictable ending during the final episode. I won’t spoil anything here of course but suffice to say what happens is hardly surprising.
With each episode clocking in at around an hour or so, there’s certainly a lot in Hightown to unpack but very little of it feels rewarding or engaging enough to warrant a second season. To be fair, the show does set up some nice foundational work to grow into and it could surprise some people but when you have two unlikable central protagonists, it’s a tough sell for sure.
Ultimately though Hightown is another of those Summer TV line-ups that’s enjoyable enough while the schedule is thin but instantly forgettable when more exciting shows return to the small screen. Hopefully the second season can improve but for now, Hightown season 1 is lacklustre and average at best and disappointingly forgettable at its worst.
Verdict - 4/10