The scenery is very alluring in new SBS drama Riviera, less so the charmed lives who inhabit it.
Julia Stiles (Dexter, Blue) plays art buyer Georgia Clios, married to wealthy banker Constantine Clios (Anthony LaPaglia). But just a year into their marriage he is killed aboard a exploding yacht off Monaco while she is busy at work in New York.
She arrives to bad news as Constantine’s family gathers around, including moody eldest son Adam (Iwan Rheon), self-harming troubled daughter Adriana (Roxane Duran) and ambitious, self-obsessed son Christos (Dimitri Leonidas), hiding his addictions. Constantine’s previous wife Irina (Lena Olin) also arrives for the funeral, complicating events for Georgia.
But with so much money dripping from the villa walls it soon becomes obvious Constantine’s death was no accident, especially when a female survivor washes up on the shore. Georgia is beginning to realise her husband kept secrets and now she is on a mission to learn the truth.
Set against a sumptuous backdrop that constantly upstages the main players, this drama by Neil Jordan and Paul McGuiness (former manager of U2) lacks momentum and emotion. Stiles is the only character coming anywhere near the likability required for a series arc. But she lands in a cluster of cool, European elites, with so much equity they have forgotten how to connect.
Mistrustful of those left standing, Georgia will probably need to use her wiles to stay one step ahead, but frankly the way things drag that shouldn’t be much of a problem. Until performers like Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Misfits) are given something to do, the time required for Riviera might be better spent with an ice-cream along the marina or a roulette.
8:30pm Wednesday on SBS.