After you watch the first episode, you won’t be able to quantify how much you love it. Yes, it’s that good.
After you watch the first episode, you won’t be able to quantify how much you love it. Yes, it’s that good.

The sexually charged TV show you can’t resist

Crackling with energy, HBO comedic thriller Run is a compulsive, captivating and ever-so-slightly anxiety-inducing new TV show.

Created by Vicky Jones and produced by her and creative partner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve), the seven-part series stars Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson, and it's every bit as excellent as you would expect when you have that great calibre of writers, producers and actors involved.

What these guys, and directors including Australian Kate Dennis and Natalie Bailey, manage to create can only be described as alchemy, the formulation of a televisual elixir that you just want to down until every last drop has been consumed.

Ruby (Wever) and Billy (Gleeson) are former lovers from university and haven't seen each other in more than 15 years.

As youngsters, they made a pact: if one them texts them "RUN" and the other replies with the same, then they would drop everything and meet at New York's Grand Central station and meet each other on the first train leaving after five o'clock.

(Not) strangers on a train.
(Not) strangers on a train.

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When Ruby replies "RUN" to Billy that morning and jumps on a plane from her LA home to NY, she's leaving behind a SUV, a husband and two kids.

Billy is a self-help guru whose sold-out tours and books have made him semi-famous and semi-rich.

When they lock eyes on that train, the chemistry is palpable.

Over the seven episodes, Run will reveal what it is about their lives that have compelled both of them, at that point in time, run from their lives - and throw up some twists you won't see coming.

Five episodes were made available for review and unless Run really falls over in the final two chapters, then this is a contender for one of the most exciting, irreverent and outstanding shows of the year. It's hard to see too many shows will manage to top this.

You can imagine an alternate version of this story that may have come out as a rom-com feature in the 1990s, directed by someone like Nora Ephron or Rob Reiner, and starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. That version would've been pleasant and fun and full of witty repartee.

This version is brazen, sexually charged and a little bit wild. Actually, it's really wild. Squeals and gasps will be part of your viewing experience, along with the requisite laugh-out-louds.

Even the show's name - Run - gives you an idea of how active and forward-moving this series is, and the episode names do the same: "Run", "Kiss", "F**k", "Chase", "Jump", "Tell" and "Trick".

Sexually charged screen chemistry.
Sexually charged screen chemistry.

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Shooting so much of it in confined spaces, especially on the train, means you're in the claustrophobic space of the characters, creating not just intimacy but complicity, which adds to the overall tension.

Wever and Gleeson's screen chemistry is key to why this series works. Their pairing feels like one that's years in the making, yet it's established within a scene why these characters are still so drawn to each other.

From awkward shenanigans in the sleeper car of a train to an ambling cruise in the sun, Wever and Gleeson are so believable as former lovers whose magnetic attraction to each other has never faded.

So much of that is also in Jones' writing. She deftly peels back the layers, bit by bit, about these two people, and their regret and yearning for something different to the mid-30s lives they didn't mean to settle into.

Because as much as Ruby and Billy ran to each other, it's much more about what they're running from. Not having all the pieces upfront creates a continuing allure that keeps you and them coming back for more.

Just like Ruby and Billy, you won't be able to resist.

Run starts on Fox Showcase and Foxtel Now on Thursday, May 7 at 8.30pm

Share your TV and movies obsessions | @wenleima

Originally published as Sexually charged TV show you can't resist


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