More than 800,000 tuned in to see the opening episode of Love/Hate on Channel 5 on Wednesday night and the critics were overwhelmingly impressed, even comparing the Dublin-based crime drama to the likes of The Wire and The Sopranos.
Watching it again reminded me of something that I have thought for a long time. An opinion that was met with huge hostility the first time I whispered my thoughts.
Aidan Gillen must be one of the most-overrated actors of all time. Superlatives that are usually associated with the 45-year-old Dubliner are sensational, memorable, incredible, award-winning, unique and powerful. I prefer one-dimensional, wooden and jammy. Hear me out.
He had major parts in two ground-breaking TV shows and all of a sudden he is hailed as a ‘living great’. He came to prominence in Queer as Folk, where he played the manipulative Stuart Jones. He did a scene or two that caused huge controversy at the time, which resulted in him being labelled as a modern-day method actor.
He then landed the role of Mayor Carcetti in The Wire. It’s a show I believe to be one of the best of all time – but Gillen was a tiny part of its success story.
I genuinely believe his unwarranted reputation for simply being part of two ‘great’ shows has clouded people’s judgement about his acting ability.
Bar a few scenes of drug-fuelled antics in Love/Hate, his portrayal of John Boy is wooden, unrealistic and is totally outshone by the so-called supporting cast.
Don’t get me wrong, his character is amazing. The writer Stuart Carolan deserves the credit though, not Gillen.
Tom Vaughan Lawlor should have been nominated for Best Actor at the 2011 IFTAs instead of Supporting Actor. And he should have won it too.