The opening episode of sci-fi noir The City and The City has left a lot of viewers in a state of confusion.
After its BBC2 debut, many of those who hadn’t read the China Miéville book that the series is based on found the plot hard to follow.
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The premise, to be fair, is pretty bewildering. The City and The City, starring David Morrissey and Mandeep Dhillon, is set in two fictional European city-states. Beszel and Ul Qoma overlap, but everybody in each city must completely ignore the other.
If they don’t, a shadowy organisation called Breach will go after them.
But one day, the body of an American student turns up. Her name is Mahalia Geary and her murder has huge implications for both cities and for the man who investigates the killing: Inspector Tyador Borlu.
Viewers were pretty baffled by the whole thing…
No idea what’s going on x #TheCityAndTheCity
— Sally Ann Matthews (@SallyAnMatthews) April 6, 2018
— Laura ???? (@uisgebeatha) April 6, 2018
Anyone else confused?! #TheCityAndTheCity
— Carmen (@blackbuttongirl) April 6, 2018
— David Puckridge (@DavidPuckridge) April 6, 2018
— Alistair Canlin (@alcanlin) April 6, 2018
Morrissey himself said he wasn’t sure how easy it would be to adapt for television. He told RadioTimes.com: “I did start thinking, how the hell are they going to do this?
“And then I met [the director] Tom Shankland, who I’m a huge fan of, and he had a vision, and you just jump in. Any job is a leap of faith.”
But many viewers who had read the book were full of praise for the debut episode…
#TheCityAndTheCity is one of my favourite novels. Makes perfect sense having read it, but twitter seems confused. Read the book. It's ace.
— MWhit (@MooMooMosschops) April 6, 2018
The first episode of #TheCityAndTheCity was pretty darn good. People who aren't familiar with the book must be rather confused and/or bored by now. The oddness of the premise isn't badly handled, given how tricky is is to translate it from page to screen
— Martin (@concretebadger) April 6, 2018
Only 15min into #TheCityAndTheCity on BBC2 and it's so great already… love it when a great book gets a great adaptation!
— Nicole (@nicole_fcd) April 6, 2018
Loved #TheCityAndTheCity when I read it and loving this adaptation so far.
— Dougie (@Geo_Dougie) April 6, 2018