The Last Panthers Was Brilliant – So Why Didn’t It Take Off?

On Thursday (December 17), The Last Panthers concluded with a nail-biting finale on Sky Atlantic. The trans-European crime thriller is set into motion when a criminal gang, pull off a daring jewellery heist in the south of France. The plot focuses on the brutal aftermath as Naomi (Samantha Morton), an insurance investigator from London and French Policeman, Khalil (Tahar Rahim), both attempt to catch those responsible for the daring swindle.

The Last Panthers was billed as the next great foreign-language thriller to hit our screens following The Killing and The Bridge, but it didn’t quite take off the way we wanted to. We’ve broken down some of the reasons why The Last Panthers passed by with a purr, and not a roar.

1. Was the plot too complex?

The show’s plot was undeniably, a sprawling affair, and accelerated from country to country at a break-neck pace; but the sheer magnitude, scope and complications of the story apparently perplexed viewers. Part of the blame perhaps lies with Sky, as the show refused to conform to crime-thriller conventions – instead combining the story with the geo-political backdrop of modern Europe, but perhaps viewers weren’t expecting.

2. Was it a bit dark?

In the aftermath of the slick heist, a wayward bullet from the gang kills a young child. Is child murder still a bit much for the masses? You don’t get that in Downton or Sherlock, that’s for sure.

3. Not Enough John Hurt

After revealing that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, Hurt promised that he would continue to act as much as he could during his gruelling treatment. And boy, did he act. Hurt played Tom, Naomi’s nefarious boss, and gave us scene-stealing performances on a weekly basis. He became an obvious highlight of the show but his minimal appearances maybe left dissatisfied.

4. Lack Of Critical Support

The show received a relatively-large promotional push by Sky in the run-up to its premiere on November 12, but failed to generate significant online buzz. In fact, there seemed to be a minimal response towards the show from critics. There was a distinct lack of weekly recaps or previews from the press; something that has proved crucial to the success of TV shows in this current era of television.

5. No Synchronised Viewing Experience

Sky and fellow French producers Canal+ really dropped the ball in regards to the synchronised syndication of the show across the globe. In Europe; the UK and France had different premiere dates despite Sky and Canal+ producing the show together, and it won’t hit screens in the US until Spring 2016. As Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead have proved time and time again, minimal time gaps between show times across the globe generates positive online buzz for the show.

6. No Chance To Tweet

TV viewing in 2015 is such a dual-screen experience. Twitter and Facebook have established themselves as huge distractions for viewers, as they seek reactionary quips on social media, while watching the shows they love at same time. The use of subtitles in The Last Panthers meant it impossible to multi-task while watching. Is it too much of an ask to demand viewers full attention? Either way, the result would have undoubtedly been a lack of social media buzz about the show.

7. People Thought It Peaked Too Soon

Viewer reception to Episode 1 was overwhelmingly positive, but attention waned as some viewers insisted that the show could never reach the same standard set in the first episode. They were wrong though because Episode 5, where Naomi and Milan’s complicated relationship is exposed and the show’s bloody conclusion, were both two of the finest hours of television seen this year.

8. It Couldn’t Be Binged

The show failed to synchronise efficiently (as mentioned above), and as a result some watchers suggested that The Last Panthers may have benefited from the ‘dumping’ strategy, that has proved popular on several streaming services like Netflix and Amazon prime(House Of Cards, Man In The High Castle). But the cliff-hangers and the increasing tension of each episode would have been lost in a binge session, and the week-long wait only intensified the drama.