Downton Abbey

Hit & Miss is the sort of series that makes you cringe pleasurably. Chloë Sevigny stars in a drama with the appropriate amount of violence, the right bit of genital exposure, and perhaps a little more Chloë Sevigny’s faux-English accent than you’ll be initially comfortable with. But you’ll get used to it. She’s wonderful.

There’s something overly gimmicky about describing the show’s premise however. It sounds like the lovechild of a National Enquirer piece and pulp novel. A sincere, un-caricatured transgendered presence on television certainly would’ve been enough of a provocative step forward, analogous to one of Sevigny’s most noteworthy big screen roles, 1999’s hit Boys Don’t Cry; and female assassin protagonists are always good for some moral grey area exploration and bloodshed. Even an underqualified single mother raising a rag-tag gang of biracial, schizophrenic, (spoiler: accidentally murderous,) and sexually confused British kids should call for some good laughs. But when you try to include all of this in a one-liner to describe the show, it seems petty. It seems strange. It doesn’t seem like one of the most strikingly charged and refreshing series to grace television in a long time. But alas, that is certainly what Hit & Miss is.

The series brings impeccable beauty to murder and anal sex (not saying either lacked beauty previously) with the same stroke of its brush, pulling it from the picturesque landscape of Littleborough, Lancashire’s countryside. There’s a timelessness to the aesthetic of the series that can at times out-Downton Abbey Downton Abbey and its ilk. But whenever complacency begins to set bullets, knives, untucked penises have a knack of piercing the stillness and maintaining a riveting pace of storytelling. Each aspect of the almost unwieldy premise is dealt with with great earnest and precision. The gimmicks aren’t just tossed into the viewer’s lap, as one might expect from the Wikipedia page, but rather they are gradually constructed, destructed, and deconstructed over and over with story inviting exploration and providing a thick texture to the show.

And Chloë Sevigny plays a mighty fine pre-op transsexual assassin. It seems she’s returned from a post-Big Love hiatus to show us how well she can carry a series on her back, as she’d arguably done before when the other mormons became less than compelling as the show aged. This new series utilizes her talents exceptionally well and relies on her heavily. (Read: frequently nude Chloë.) Luckily, the show makes strides to keep sexiness, violence, and romance in the most traditional senses in mind and on the screen. Newer elements get weaved into this system easy enough like when after a passionate love scene between main character Mia (Chloë) and her new beau, she goes into the bathroom to pee, sitting down of course, and has to adjust her penis to fit into the toilet, but as she does so, she finds the used condom of her apparently unfaithful beau and storms out. There’s a rich medley of drama that only feels as unconventional as you let it, but nonetheless pulls the heart-strings. (Who among us hasn’t forgotten to thoroughly clean up between trysts, getting caught up in the whirlwind of anal lovemaking? Surely, we can relate.)

Watch the series. Currently broadcasting on Sky Atlantic in the UK, Hit & Miss will be coming to the states via DirecTV in July.