Well, another series of “Bugs” and yet another change to the tone and format of this wonderful 1990s sci-fi/thriller show. This time round, the show has been slightly reinvented as a conventional spy thriller series, but with all the gadgets and “futuristic” technology which makes “Bugs” such an amazingly fun show. In order to discuss the premise of this series properly, this review will contain some spoilers for the first couple of episodes.
Shortly after the series begins, Beckett strikes a deal with the new director of the Bureau Of Weapons Technology (Jan) in order to get essential information for a case the team are working on. As part of this deal Ros, Beckett and Ed find themselves working as agents for the Bureau rather than as private detectives. In addition to this, they are joined by a former clerk at the agency called Alex, who is also a martial arts expert but a fairly inexperienced spy.
Whilst the format of the show is still fairly similar to the format of the earlier series of the show, changing it into a slightly more conventional (and very vaguely “James Bond”-esque) spy series allows for a range of much more serious and dramatic storylines which include everything from protecting the access codes for an arsenal of nuclear weapons to uncovering double-agents and corrupt politicians.
Series three of “Bugs” also contains a surprising amount of characterisation too and there is also a lot more “drama” between the main characters than there was in the previous two series. Whilst this can be fairly surprising at first, it gives the show a slightly more “realistic” atmosphere and it makes the characters seem a lot more three-dimensional too. Given the paucity of characterisation in series two, it’s good to see that they’ve more than made up for it in series three.
As with the previous two series, series three of “Bugs” consists of ten episodes and all of these episodes are very watchable, even if a few plot elements are slightly predictable. Still, saying that, many of the episodes in this series have slightly less outlandish and obviously contrived plots as the episodes from the previous series do.
It’s hard to pick a favourite episode, but “Fugitive” is probably one of the most dramatic episodes in the series. “Identity Crisis”, “Happily Ever After?” and “Renegades” are probably the most thrilling episodes too. But, honestly, there isn’t a single “bad” episode in this entire series.
There are also a couple of guest stars in series three too, although the only two that I could recognise were Leslie Ash and Rudolph Walker. Since I’ve only really seen these two actors in comedy shows (Leslie Ash in “Men Behaving Badly” and Rudolph Walker in Ben Elton’s excellent “The Thin Blue Line”) before, it was kind of interesting to see them in a more ‘serious’ show.
In addition to this, series three contains a few references to events and characters from series one and two too – whilst this probably isn’t confusing for people who are new to the show (and, it can probably still be watched as a standalone series)- you’ll get the most out of series three if you watch the first two series first. Likewise, the final episode of series three is both a lot more dramatic and amusing if you’ve watched series two than if you haven’t.
In many ways, series three of “Bugs” is probably my favourite series so far. Although it lacks the unintentional comedy and endearing cheesiness of series two, series three shows that “Bugs” has evolved as a series. If you want a fun and thrilling sci-fi/spy show with lots of interesting “futuristic” retro technology (hell, in one episode Ed even uses a Zip Drive – does anyone remember those things?) then you can’t go wrong with series three of “Bugs”.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, then series three of “Bugs” would get a fairly solid five.