July 12, 2012



HIT & MISS:  WEDNESDAY 10pm on DirecTV Audience Network – Worth A Look


HIT & MISS is considerably less sensationalistic than its premise and first five minutes might lead you to expect.  By the end of the first episode’s opening credits, we’ve watched Mia (Chloe Sevigny) calmly shoot a man for money, then come home and strip for a shower, showing us that she very evidently has a penis.  Mia is a pre-op transsexual, born as Ryan, who makes her living as a hired killer.  A few screen minutes after that, she receives a letter from Wendy, the woman she lived with years before as a man, and she learns that Wendy has cancer and that she, Mia, had unknowingly fathered an 11-year old son, Ryan (Jorden Bennie), who bears Mia’s birth name.  Mia drives out to Wendy’s rural Irish farm only to find out that Wendy is dead, Ryan has 3 half-siblings–teenage Riley (Karla Crome), who more or less runs things, another older brother Levi (Reese Noi), and younger sister Leonie (Roma Christensen)–and Wendy’s will has placed them all in Mia’s care.  The kids don’t particularly want Mia there, Mia doesn’t know what she wants, but she cared deeply about Wendy even though they couldn’t stay together, and uncomfortably, she moves in.

The series was “created” by Paul Abbott, who also created the original UK version of Shameless (although “created by”  must have a different meaning in UK television than it does here, as Hit & Miss is actually written by Sean Conway; the opening episode is directed by Hettie Macdonald), and Hit & Miss, with its struggling, mismatched family, has something of the feel of a lower-key, more serious Shameless.  (Riley is a close cousin to that show’s Fiona.)  With its countryside setting, though, it’s for the most part more leisurely paced, despite occasional outbreaks of violence.

The key to the show, of course, is Sevigny, who is terrific in a unique role.  Sevigny doesn’t try to act butch at all to suggest Mia’s male origins (she’s more like Angelina Jolie in one of her action roles), but every so often the way she carries herself will remind us she began life as a man.  Mia is utterly confident when she’s killing someone, uncertain when she has to interact with children, and having maternal feelings that are an uneasy fit with her profession of assassin for hire.

It appears from the show’s first hour (it will run 6 episodes as a DirecTV exclusive) that it will largely concern Mia’s life on the firm with Wendy’s children.  An adversary has been introduced in the person of John (Vincent Regan), the bullying landlord who also happens to be secretly sleeping with Riley.  There’s also a potential romantic interest for Mia, Ben (Jonas Armstrong), although who knows how the show plans to have that play out.  So far only Riley really makes an impression among the children.

If nothing else, Hit & Miss will be one of the more distinctive shows on the air this season.  It remains to be seen whether the series will have any more to it beyond its unusual premise, but Sevigny’s performance is memorable on its own, and the show establishes a claim on viewer attention.  It’s hard to imagine such a project will bring great crowds to DirecTV.  More power to the satellite carrier, though, for putting some of its programming funds into this very indie project.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."