Wilderness, review: a good old mindless thriller – complete with the worst Welsh accents of the year

Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Jenna Coleman in Wilderness
Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Jenna Coleman in Wilderness - Maddie Brooking/Amazon Prime Video

Most people who discover that their husband is a cheating slimeball choose one of two options. If they’ve got any sense, they chuck him out; or they stay in the marriage, which becomes a hotbed of festering resentment.

But characters in TV thrillers don’t behave like normal people – including Liv Taylor in Wilderness, the new drama from Amazon Prime Video. Liv (Jenna Coleman) has followed her new husband to New York, where he has landed a job as a hotel events manager. The role comes with a dream apartment in Manhattan, but unfortunately also provides husband Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) with an attractive colleague who wears thongs with all the coverage of dental floss. Soon, Liv uncovers evidence that the two are having an affair. This involves some racy text messages and a sex video featuring that thong.

Does Liv hightail it back home to Britain and tell the duplicitous, gaslighting Will to sling his hook? She does not. Instead she accepts his conciliatory offer of a belated honeymoon – a California road trip – and plots to kill him by pushing him off the edge of the Grand Canyon or drowning him on a white water rafting trip. Both ideas fail to come off.

Then Cara, the other woman (played by Ashley Benson), bumps into them on the trip. What are the chances? The stage is set for a murder, which comes with an episode three twist so obvious that a toddler could see it coming.

It’s one of those easy-to-digest thrillers perfect for a Friday night – look, we’ve all had a hard week and just want to watch some mindless nonsense while having a big drink. None of it is remotely believable (never mind the murder; what kind of employer supplies an apartment as impressive as this one for a low-ranking executive?) but I found myself clicking on to the next episode to see how the revenge plot progressed. The show is based on a book by Beverley Jones, a former BBC journalist and police press officer.

The scenes are by-numbers: Liv smashes up things in her flat when she gets angry; she has a lesbian kiss later in the series, because of course she does. The biggest mystery is why the director allowed the cast to stick with the original premise, as laid out in the book, that Liv is Welsh. It means that Coleman and the actress playing her mum (Claire Rushbrook) attempt Welsh accents, with the results falling somewhere on the spectrum between ‘bless them for trying’ and ‘make it stop’. Michael Sheen was castigated for suggesting recently that only Welsh actors should play Welsh characters, but perhaps he’d seen an early preview of this.

On Amazon Prime Video now