Hulu has scored another program for its Hulu Exclusive Series, this one being the British drama Run, which debuted on the UK’s Channel 4 last month.
Run offers up a gritty look at inner-city life in London through the threaded stories of four seemingly unconnected individuals, who also demonstrate that the big city can be much smaller than it appears.
In the series opener, we meet Carol, played by BAFTA Award-winner Olivia Colman (The Accused, Twenty Twelve). Carol’s a tough single mother struggling to keep her family together and life afloat on the council estate they call home. To help make ends meet, she sells iPhones that she steals from her warehouse job. If this wasn’t bad enough, things get much worse when she learns that her two teenage sons have beat a man to death.
The second episode follows Ying (Katie Leung, Harry Potter), an illegal immigrant from China who sells pirated DVDs and (Carol’s) stolen phones to repay the debt she owes to the Snakehead gang. But when an immigration raid leaves her homeless as well as cashless to pay the gang leader what she owes, she turns to Jamal, the owner of a barbershop who buys her ill-gotten gains, for help.
It is at the barbershop that we come upon recovering heroin addict Richard, played by Lennie James (The State Within, Line of Duty). Richard is struggling to both stay clean and stay in his teenage daughter’s life. But when he learns that she and his ex-wife are moving from Brixtol to Brighton, and that his ex is planning to end his visitation rights, the threat of returning to his former life of addiction looms large.
The series concludes with the story of Kasia (Katharina Schuttler, The Promise), who appears in all four episodes. Kasia is a young Polish woman whose life has gone from high hopes to the depths of despair. As a cleaner, she barely earns enough to get by, and having a gambling addict for a boyfriend doesn’t help. Worse yet, she discovers that he had been involved in both an illegal operation and a relationship with another woman, and that he’s been killed.
Reactions to Run by viewers in the UK have run the gamut, describing it as realistic and hopeful to depressing and hopeless. Most of them also say that the acting is brilliant. Judge for yourself.
Run premieres exclusively on Hulu/Hulu Plus on 20 August 2013.