‘Gentleman Jack’ Review: HBO’s Hamstrung New Series Has One of the Year’s Best Performances

‘Gentleman Jack’ Review: HBO’s Hamstrung New Series Has One of the Year’s Best Performances
At the very end of “Gentleman Jack’s” first episode, the eponymous protagonist shows up unannounced but fully prepared to start courting a new love interest. Giddy with excitement, “Jack” asks to see the lady of the house and, with a quick pump of the eyebrows, looks directly into the camera.

While far from a revolutionary choice in the golden age of “Fleabag,” a character breaking the fourth wall is still rather surprising in what’s otherwise a by-the-books period drama. Sure, writer-director Sally Wainwright (“Happy Valley”) shows a bit of flair from time to time — a cracking, up-tempo rhythm accompanies the title credits — but she needs to show more. You see, Gentleman Jack is Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), whose decoded diary entries inspire the series of the same name. A music cue here and a fourth-wall break there don’t quite match the swagger of this Lgbtq icon — or
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