There’s undeniable charm to Somewhere Boy, an eight part British miniseries. But, understated and nuanced, a lack of grittiness undermines it’s dramatic impact.
As a baby, Danny’s mother was killed in a car crash. Overcome by grief, dad Steve (Rory Keenan) disappears off the grid with his son. Holed up in an isolated, rural house, Steve protects Danny from the horrors of the outside world, convincing his child of monsters roaming outside. The two live a solitary life.
Shown in flashback over the eight episodes, the socially awkward 18 year-old Danny (Lewis Gribben) now lives with his dad’s sister, Sue (Lisa McGillis) and her family. The teenager is desperate to fit in, trying to befriend his same-aged cousin Aaron (Samuel Bottomley), himself shy and struggling to make meaningful friendships. It’s this relationship that is the indomitable core to the drama where one boy, almost smothered by love from his father, seemingly adjusts easier to the outside world than the other as Aaron struggles with the rejection by his father who walked out on the family.
Gentle humour abounds alongside a family struggling to cope with the everyday – social services are more than happy to see Danny living with Sue and her new family. As the teenager is now 18 years-old, there’s little they can do. Sue herself certainly struggles personally, and her character is underwritten to be sufficiently assertive. But things come to a head when Danny discovers the cause of his mother’s death.
With a heartbreaking Gribben as the lonely, trusting, confused Danny mourning the death of his father along with the equally dysfunctional Samuel Bottomley as Aaron, Somewhere Boy is a beautifully written drama of friendship, love and support. But, whilst the wider plot lines are in themselves engaging enough, the writing struggles with these narratives and are generally left unresolved.