2017 is set to be a huge year for television with a new series of House of Cards, the return of Twin Peaks and more from Stranger Things and The OA on the cards.
However, the year’s best show may have already arrived in the form of Quarry, a crime drama series unlike any other, and one you really shouldn’t be missing out on.
Largely overlooked in the UK when it was aired on Sky Atlantic last year, it’s worthy of taking a closer look at in 2017. Here are just 11 reasons why you need to watch it.
Max Allan Collins
Quarry is based on a series novels of the same name from Max Allan Collins, a prolific writer known as much for his hard-boiled crime fiction as he is for his work on graphic novels like Road to Perdition and Batman.
He’s written 13 Quarry novels to date, giving the series a rich tapestry of work to draw from.
The plot sees Mac Conway, a former Marine sniper haunted by memories of his past, return to Memphis from Vietnam in 1972 against a back-drop of anti-war protests and increasing racial tension.
It’s from here that things really ramp up for Conway who becomes embroiled in the world of contract killers and corruption along the Mississippi.
Once better known for the fact he looks a lot like Tom Hardy, Marshall-Green really comes into own on Quarry with a layered performance that sees him go from tortured, manic soul to steely gun-for-hire in the blink of an eye.
It’s a career best turn for an actor whose biggest credit to date came on Prometheus. Quarry’s author, Collins, would struggle to find a more suitable actor for the role.
Having returned home in disgrace, Conway finds himself unable to land a job and forced to work as an assassin for a mysterious man called The Broker (more on him later) having run up a debt with the master criminal in bloody and noticeably tragic circumstances.
It’s a premise that’s part Banshee and part Justified with a 1970s twist.
A TV show is only as good as it’s ensemble and while Marshall-Green’s unerring performance as Quarry’s central character is crucial, some scenes would fall flat were it not for Balfour’s equally impressive turn as his wife, Joni.
A loving and concerned presence in Conway’s life, her reactions mirror that of the audience yet, much like her husband, she carries some secrets of her own.
As a setting, the 1970s is something of an open-goal when it comes to the soundtrack and Quarry is no difference with everything from Otis Redding to Creedence Clearwater Revival featuring on the show and adding a sense of time and place to proceedings.
It’s not just the familiar tracks that hit home either – the show’s score also provides an understated menace to proceedings when required, while the live music that features only add to the time and place of the story.
Anyone who watched Justified will be familiar with Herriman’s work. The Australian actor played the noticeably pathetic Dewey Crowe on the Kentucky-based drama yet here he’s almost unrecognisable as Quarry’s main contact, Buddy, a complex career criminal and homosexual living in America’s less forgiving deep south.
As with Cinemax’s previous action-led series, Banshee, Quarry really shines when it comes to the action which is bloody, brutal and unlike anything you have seen on television before.
Men are choked with gloves, car chases are frantic and full of danger while, in one instance, someone’s entire face is blown off. It’s strong stuff.
The inclusion of the veteran Scottish actor as The Broker is something of a masterstroke with Mullan evidently having a lot of fun in the role of master criminal.
Quietly menacing while coldly calculated, Mullan somehow remains charming and entirely watchable throughout. He’s perfect as The Broker.
When Conway returns from Vietnam he’s faced with accusations he was involved in the senseless killing of innocents during his time in the Marines, in a scenario not dissimilar to the real-life My Lai Massacre.
But all is not as it seems and as the series progresses we being to realise the truth is something far, far worse.
Recruiting Yaitanes as director for the show was something of a masterstroke from the off.
A veteran TV director with credits on House, Lost, Damages and most recently Banshee, he’s more than capable of handling Quarry’s loud and quiet moments with equal aplomb, whether it’s a gun deal gone bad or Quarry confronting his wife on what she’s been up to.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.