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The Hush – A New Drama Series on Channel 5, MediaCorp Singapore.

I’ve always enjoyed Remesh Panicker’s narrations in documentaries. He has a rich voice and this  drew me to The Hush. And from the trailers, he comes across well, playing the part of Nelson Kumar.

MediaCorp/Toggle show info:

A brand new drama series! Before dawn, the body of an unidentified 16-year-old boy is found floating in the swimming pool of The Hush. In the hallways, neighbours trade whispered gossip as an investigation takes place, unravelling tensions and long-buried secrets of the residents. Who was the boy? How did he die? Will the lives of the residents ever be the same again?

A brand new? Okay, a bit of colloquialism there but no worries.

MediaCorp/Toggle Episode One – now is this a slugline or a synopsis?

The body of a teenage Malay boy is found floating in the swimming pool of The Hush early one morning, sparking off a police investigation that implicates several residents of condominium project – all of them had seen him lurking around the grounds or had contact with him prior.

Clunky! And with typos to boot.

My version, and this in essence is what the episode is about:

When a teenager is found dead in the swimming pool of a condominium, several residents become suspects.

Not exactly a reach-out-and-grab-you hook, but hey, that’s the storyline!

@ Eric Alagan, 2016

@ Eric Alagan, 2016

MediaCorp/Toggle Cast Info

On the surface, the bios of 18 out of the 19 characters represent a wide cross-section of Singaporeans:

  • Thomas Teo – the Ah Long collector, albeit a high-end version
  • Valerie Teo – working woman turned housewife, as common as the next character
  • Nelson Kumar – retiree and part of the “ageing population” that grabs headlines now
  • Sharifah Binti Ibrahim – high-flyer turned politician, a uniquely Singapore-style success story
  • Jaden Kok – man about town, planted to raise blood pressure
  • Selena – sarong party girl, planted to raise blood pressure
  • Daud Bin Abdul Rahman – middle-aged misfit, hope this character is not a prop for government infomercials
  • Luisa Reyes – the ubiquitous house-help
  • Jeremy Kumar – one half of a mixed marriage, hope they come up with new marital issues and not regurgitate the usual cultural (yawn) conflicts
  • Woo Yen Leng – the other half of said mixed marriage
  • Clara Teo – teenager/rebel, if she is really representative then she will have very little dialogue as this character would be buried in her handheld
  • Keith Teo – “akan dating” teenager/rebel
  • Mdm Gan – the in-house BBC
  • Insp Koh – no patience for fools, must be the smart one
  • Hafiz Bin Mohd Daud – teenager but more confused than rebellious
  • Sgt Krishnan – eager to carve a notch on his gun butt
  • Nina – the ubiquitous property agent
  • Adam Farid – security guard, someone to blame when anything goes wrong
  • Zulkifi Bin Abdullah – the true Star, one episode and his presence is felt throughout the series – the only one not representative of a typical Singaporean

With almost every single profile covered – almost, because they missed out the billionaire who occupies the duplex penthouse – the plots and sub-plots promise to be a cob-web of entanglements and rich possibilities.

Don’t get me wrong, I meant that as a compliment – a shrewd “inclusive” marketing strategy. However, beware that in trying to be something for everybody, the series does not end up being nothing for anybody. Investigating a ghost? Hmmm… tread carefully.

My primary concern is, the backdrop for the entire series is thin – the unexplained death of a teenager who had no business to be on the premises. For starters, how long will the investigations last? Days? Weeks? Months? Would this not constrain the depth of the sub-plots; how they play out; and, character development? One can only hope for some clever and out-of-the-box story telling. Perhaps I completely missed the plot – was that a pun? By the way, how many episodes are there in this series?

Updated 23 May – I’ve since learned that it’s a 13-part series. How much lapsed time is that in the series – 13 hours, days, weeks, months?

The primary plus point is having an ensemble cast. In this, they have taken a leaf off Tanglin. It’s superior to having one or two headline grabbing “stars”, which does not work because there is no one actor with that kind of drawing power in Singapore. After all, The Hush is competing with all-comers, starting with the offerings on cable and video streaming.

All said, as of now, The Hush looks, sounds and feels promising – and I plan to catch episode one.