Epix recently premiered the new series BRIDGE AND TUNNEL. Set in Long Island in 1980, it follows a group of six friends who have just graduated college and are on the verge of moving onto the next stage of their lives. However, when they all come home for a summer break and to reconnect, their lives quickly become entwined again. Will they give up their futures to pursue the past? Or will this be a final fling before they move on into adulthood?
To be honest, I didn’t find the premise of BRIDGE AND TUNNEL all that realistic. All six members of this friend group had free time after college? None of them went straight into jobs? Was that how it was back in 1980, that adulthood didn’t start until you had one last summer break? This seems more like the circumstances of a post-high school summer, though the stakes are painted as quite a bit higher. It makes sense for the two characters waiting to go onto more studies, but not the others.
The idea that romance could derail a career, even a dream job, is more believable. We meet Jimmy (Sam Vartholomeos, Star Trek: Discovery) and Jill (Caitlin Stasey, Reign) as they hook up in the bathroom of their favorite local bar. Their friends gossip about them as they wait for their return, but the couple has other ideas, sneaking out so they can keep having sex. They are in love, but one is more committed than the other. Or perhaps, you could say one is more realistic about why a long-term relationship won’t work. Jimmy is heading to Alaska to take pictures for National Geographic, while Jill is a city girl.
BRIDGE AND TUNNEL does a good job of showing the pain of love that isn’t practical. Movies and television shows often subscribe to the “love conquers all” premise, and while it’s not unheard of to go in a different direction, it’s still appreciated when a series does. Their time is limited, and that misery hangs over any time they spend together. It might be smarter to stay away, even if they can’t seem to do so.
The other four characters are less developed. Stacey (Isabella Farrell, Fluidity) and Mikey (Jan Luis Castellanos, 13 Reasons Why) are full of lust for one another, but they don’t pretend it’s anything more than physical attraction. And while at least one of them has a significant other somewhere else, which doesn’t stop them, it doesn’t seem completely immoral, either, or at least not any more so than their previous teen non-relationship was. Pags (Brian Muller, The Deuce) would like to pair up with the remaining girl in the group, Tammy (Gigi Zumbado, Pitch Perfect 2), but she’s more interested in waiting for her turn with Mikey, who hasn’t seem to have noticed her in that way.
Series creator, writer, and director Edward Burns (Saving Private Ryan, Public Morals) is also acting in the show as Jimmy’s father, Artie. He seems to be the type of man that isn’t interesting in showing his emotion, but is interested in his son’s life. He finds ways to communicate that are traditionally masculine while still being involved.
BRIDGE AND TUNNEL is almost a fantasy series, because of the unlikely premise, even if the characters are realistic enough. Still, this isn’t exactly a fresh idea, and I’m not sure it needed to be done again. If it’s personal to the creator, I would understand why he’d want to make it. It’s fun and colorful enough to be entertaining. But I wouldn’t expect this to qualify for prestige or must-see television without better fleshing out the world and tying it to reality.
The first episode of BRIDGE AND TUNNEL is available free on Amazon Prime, and further episodes will air Sundays on Epix.