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When single mother Costello Jones (Daisy May Cooper) is booted from her subsidized London flat in the first moments of HBO’s new dramedy Rain Dogs, it’s still early in the day. Costello and her preteen daughter, Iris (Fleur Tashjian), have to hold their heads high as they stroll past looky-loo neighbors and cops, well before anyone has had time for a spot of tea. “Poverty porn, at its finest!” Costello yells to the crowd, swinging a trash bag of her possessions over her shoulder.
Costello’s declaration could just as well serve as Rain Dogs’ logline. The eight-episode first season, which begins airing weekly on March 6 and streams on HBO Max, follows Costello and Iris, as they try their best to navigate the massive wall of socioeconomic forces forged against them. The show takes a linear-yet-scattered approach to telling an untidy story. Episodes jump through time as Costello, an aspiring writer, hunts for new solutions to a problem always nipping at her heels—our only sense of time coming from Costello’s sober-tracker app.
Despite its chaotic narrative, Rain Dogs manages to craft a powerful and blisteringly authentic portrait of modern perseverance. The series is crass, off-color, and vibrantly British, but it never feels offensive or melodramatic, despite its mordant handling of heavy subjects. With sharp writing and an undeniably brilliant central performance from Cooper, Rain Dogs is set to be the dark horse of the spring television season.