Alice & Jack 2024 Tv Series Review

Alice & Jack 2024 tv series review

The opening moments of PBS’s “Alice & Jack” set a poignant tone for the tale ahead. Jack (Domhnall Gleeson) reflects in voiceover, “Love is the best thing we have,” as he and Alice (Andrea Riseborough) exchange melancholic gazes in a field. “Maybe after we strip away all the nonsense, it’s the only thing we have.”

Though expressed with PG-13 language, this sentiment initially appears simple enough, akin to something one might stitch onto a pillow for sale alongside “live-laugh-love” signs. Yet, upon reflection, it serves as a warning. Love, particularly the on-off dynamic at the story’s core, becomes the singular focus of this drama. However, like any relationship, love requires nourishment from external sources to thrive. By fixating so intensely on their romance, “Alice & Jack” deprives it of the authenticity necessary for true growth.

The series commences with an evening that appears to be just another pleasant date to outsiders but profoundly impacts both Jack and Alice, reorienting the trajectory of their lives. After connecting on a dating app (albeit in 2007, predating Tinder by five years), the future lovers meet at a bar. Alice displays flirtatious banter, teasing Jack about the “reward calculus” of his unglamorous medical research job. Despite initial surprise, Jack finds himself charmed. Following a single modest sexual encounter, Alice hastily ushers Jack out the door, insisting she doesn’t wish to see him again, despite hints of sorrow in her demeanor. Nevertheless, Jack defies expectations and reaches out to her, only to be met with ghosting.

Thus begins a tumultuous push-pull dynamic that defines the next fifteen years of their lives, depicted across six hour-long episodes by creator Victor Levin (“Mad About You”). Riseborough and Gleeson portray the characters with apt chemistry, capturing the fervent passion of their volatile relationship. However, this chemistry doesn’t fully justify the series’ initial melancholy tone, reminiscent of a “Black Mirror” episode centered on grief.

While “Alice & Jack” acknowledges the damaging effects of their relationship dynamics, it fails to explore much beyond this central theme. Alice and Jack become consumed by their tumultuous bond, leaving little room for exploration of their individual identities or external influences. The narrative overlooks their personal growth, careers, and broader societal changes over the years, resulting in characters that feel one-dimensional.

In its defense, the series acknowledges the emotional rather than logical nature of love. However, it neglects to develop the underlying logic of their feelings, rooted in personal histories and circumstances. While “Alice & Jack” aims for the grandeur of a star-crossed romance, it falls short in substantiating the authenticity of their relationship. As Alice and Jack revel in the spectacle of their own suffering, viewers may find it challenging to empathize with their exhausting journey, questioning whether love truly plays a role in their turmoil.