Third-episode verdict: Transporter: The Series (RTL/M6/HBO Canada/Cinemax)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 4

In Canada: Fridays, 9pm ET/MT, HBO Canada/Super Ecran 1
In the US: Acquired to air on HBO Cinemax, possibly in June
In Germany: Already aired on RTL
In France: Already aired on M6

Time for a third-episode verdict on Transporter: The Series, an international co-production that tries to replace the movie’s growling, car-driving Hong-Kong style martial artist who dare not get attached (Jason Statham) with a purring, karate-loving car-driver who loves a shag (Chris Vance).

Of course, what constitutes the first three episodes of the series is a good question, since the episode that aired last week – The General’s Daughter – was actually the first episode broadcast in France and Germany, and so is also a pilot of sorts.

Most of the same criticisms still hold for episode three/one that were true of episodes one and two. It’s a stupid show that doesn’t shoot action well and thinks that women are only useful if topless, naked or sat in front of a computer doing menial tasks. However, compared to the first two episodes, the action seems a lot more together. The fight’s are a tad more Hong Kong in terms of the use of props but, with a German stunt team, of course you’re going to get a lot more karate than kung fu. Pleasingly, Vance also seems to have got the hang of this fighting thing and is looking quite effective in the fights. And the car chases are now only sped up minimally, rather than virtually all the way through.

With less of the comedic German engineer from the first episode and more of the French police inspector from the movies, you’d have thought that would have meant the show was getting better, but the combination of the elevated misogyny and reduced characterisation, plus the fact that even when sped up, the third episode’s car chases weren’t in any way exciting – spoiler: one actually ended with Vance’s car trundling to a halt on a grassy verge after racing along driverless at 100mph – meant that it was actually quite dreadful TV viewing.

Nevertheless, despite being largely horrific, the halfway decent fight scenes are a least a reasonable enough excuse to watch. If you can sit through the rest of it, you’ll at least get that much each week. But if that’s enough, still well clear of this.

Barrometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season but no more


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.