Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs

A singular dark comedy whose unique brand of storytelling doesn't always connect emotionally


TV Show

United Kingdom
Comedy, Drama
Daisy May Cooper, Fleur Tashjian, Jack Farthing
28 min


If I had a penny for every offbeat half-hour dramedy I've seen with a title that can be shortened to "R. Dogs," I'd have two pennies. Which isn't much, but it's weird that it happened twice.

What it's about

Single mother Costello moves from one odd job and temporary housing unit to the next in order to care for her daughter, while getting drawn back into a toxic friendship with her self-destructive friend Selby.

The take

Whether or not its intentionally messy, erratically paced style resonates with you, there's something undeniably special about having a show like Rain Dogs in our current television landscape. Almost aggressively opposed to the idea of comfort viewing and easily marketable drama, the series deals with characters who are at rock bottom for all eight episodes. There's a particular restlessness to its storytelling that keeps it thoroughly unpredictable, and allows Daisy May Cooper and Jack Farthing to play razor-sharp, open-hearted roles without any pretension whatsoever. But Rain Dogs' unique personality also means it can be especially challenging to latch on to its story—especially when the momentum is rarely carried over from one episode to the next. We become trapped in the show's central toxic friendship to the point of overemphasis. And that's a rare, valuable thing, but it can also be much too frustrating.

What stands out

Among Rain Dogs' mix of scoundrels and down-on-their-luck outcasts (some of whom barely get to come into their own as full characters), the one person who remains unforgettable is Farthing's flamboyant, eternally depressed Florian Selby. Aware of his own awful habits and the danger he poses to Costello and her daughter Iris, Selby nevertheless refuses to stay away—accepting his own decline as he acts as his friend's de facto bodyguard and enforcer. Farthing's ability to be charming, pitiful, and surprisingly violent all at once allows Selby to be a convincing, three-dimensional character and not just a collection of random character traits.

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