Strike Back as Armitage’s “road not taken”

Richard Armitage as John Porter in a promotional photo for Strike Back. Enlarges beautifully. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

While I’m chewing over the conclusion to “me + mr thornton, episode 4(a)…”:

I just read today (I’m sure everyone else read it months ago) that Strike Back will go into a third series / season. RichardArmitageNet continues to report as it’s broadcast all over the world, so I really hope you made some serious money off of this in residuals or royalties or whatever they’re called, Mr. Armitage.

Strike Back goes on without Armitage, of course. I have serious mixed feelings about that. I loved Porter, and there were more than enough dramatic loose ends that I’d have loved to have seen pursued to justify me continuing to follow my favorite soldier. Even if he weren’t so ridiculously good-looking in fatigues.

But Strike Back kinda sucked. Yes, Mr. Armitage, we guess you only took the role because there was nothing else available in British drama that year, and because you really like to work, and because it paid. I don’t blame you for any of that. And you sold the hell out of it during the publicity phase. You did your job all the way through, and you did it with your customary dedication and aplomb.

We all assume, I think, that Armitage was contracted to continue in the role of John Porter, and wriggled out of it when The Hobbit was finally greenlighted (greenlit?), and that’s the reason why Porter was killed off at the beginning of series 2.

And no, I don’t seriously think that any temptation to continue with Strike Back vs. The Hobbit actually constituted a dilemma for him. I continue to wonder, though, if Mr. Armitage ever thinks about Strike Back, and if so, what. So here’s a poll, just for fun, to see what you think his reaction(s) might be.

Note that I didn’t include some potential answers because they seem to apply to The Hobbit as well. For example, as Mulubinba noted, I assume he’s still doing gym all the time to keep up with the demands of the Thorin role, even if he’s not running with weights until he pukes. I also didn’t put “misses the bromance element of the series and wishes he could scramble around the bush with guys like Shaun Parkes and Ewen Bremner,” since with twelve dwarfs, a wizard, and a hobbit to hang out with, he has an even better bromance synergy going at the moment. And I figured both Strike Back and The Hobbit had equivalent opportunity for unpleasant exposure to water. But do suggest other answers!

~ by Servetus on May 31, 2012.

49 Responses to “Strike Back as Armitage’s “road not taken””

  1. I have to say the original Strike Back looks like William bloody Shakespeare compared to what I saw of Project Dawn. And I could only say, “Oh, Porter, I love you, but Richard, you are well out of it, my boy–well out of it. Thank heavens for Sir Peter and The Hobbit!” I am still very glad he did the first series because Sgt. Porter will always be special to me.

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    • I agree that despite everything, there was lots to like about SB 1 in terms of Armitage.

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    • Yes, Angie you are 100% correct! I Love, Porter, (and he’s SND) but make way for Thorin, the hottest dwarf in Middle Earth! This is his biggest “chance of a lifetime” so far. I hope it will turn out to be everything we hope for our lovely RA!!

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  2. Servetus, I believe this is the first poll of yours where I have gleefully selected every possible option!!

    I was at the local Comcast center yesterday returning modem equipment when I saw posters for the various cable shows: Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, & Strike Back: I didn’t recognize a single person in the Strike Back poster – not that, um, I ever saw SB when Armitage was in it.

    I DID see the SKY billboards campaign for Chris Ryan’s Strike Back in London in 2010 – does that count? 😉

    Strike Back falls into the ‘too violent for UK Expat viewing’ category, unfortunately – although there appears to be plenty of excellent footage in use by the many talented vidders in AW! 🙂

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    • I was shocked at the beginning — and I think a lot of the legacy Armitage fans were, too — at how violent it is.

      You know that choosing every option means that you invaldiate your own vote?

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      • Oh yes, it wasn’t about having a particular option ‘win’ for me (otherwise I imagine you would have added restrictions like ‘select best option’, or ‘select top 3’) – but more to validate every wonderfully zany option you put out there.

        And not to point out the ridiculously obvious – but Armitage looks really good in that screencap you’ve included above (this could be because it’s such a contrast to all the recent pics of Thornton).

        If this is the resultant look, perhaps he should be forced to train at anaerobic levels more often? 😉

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        • yeah. Usually, actually, I make people select one answer. (Consequence of teaching of undergraduates for so long. Have an opinion and defend it or risk your grade …).

          He looked fantastic all the way through SB (well, except when they were uglifying him to make it look like he had PTSD). His features were a lot harder — his face thinner, his body more muscular — but he didn’t look underweight, as he did in Spooks 7. In particular that whole cushion under his chin was absolutely gone in SB.

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          • Indeed, profesora – I could hardly miss the lack of constraint you placed on this particular poll – hence my running roughshod selecting all the choices! 😉

            I seem to be stuck in a time-warp when it comes to Armitage and mostly process him as ‘actor who portrayed Thornton’, since that character and his work conflicts resonate with me (as he does for you).

            Maybe someone can make a PG-13 edited version of Strike Back? 😉
            I had a similar problem when I watched ‘Drive’ with Ryan Gosling. Fantastic movie with a fantastic director … then all of a sudden, tons of unexpected violence!! Aaagh! I do highly recommend ‘Drive’, by the way, if you’re okay with violence of the ‘pulp fiction’ variety.

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            • It would be hard, since fundamental plot elements relate to really violent moments. There are pieces of it that are still really hard for me to watch.

              I’ve never been able to get myself to finish Pulp Fiction.

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              • Pulp Fiction…there’s another movie that traumatized me. It was the sadomasochistic scenes that did it (at least I think that’s what they were since I kept my eyes covered most of the time).

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  3. What timing! I must admit, I broke down and purchased the DVD online the other day, just arrived today. $40.00 USD, the most I’ve spent on RA (at least on one single piece of material). I did endeavor to watch season II of SB when it came out on Cinemax but stopped watching after two episodes, and just assumed the first season was more of the same, so never pursued. But, seeing all the various footage (pics, fanvids), and given the current drought, I could resist no longer. I must meet John Porter. As to answering the poll, I would imagine Richard prefers to keep “looking to the future,” and harbors no regrets.

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    • I think you will find it worth it. I hope so, anyway. There are a few scenes that are simply unforgettable.

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      • Watched the entire series last night (with hubby, who also enjoyed, bonus). Scenes lingering mostly in my head today are those with Katie. How RA could make real those tender moments of exerting care and comfort to her, ultimately trying to make her believe that he will save her (be her hero), within such a parade of fast action, violent sequences. I think I fell into those moments like none other of his performances … almost wanting to crawl into my 56″ screen to be in his arms, to be the recipient of that gaze, to lie in his lap knowing he is there for me. Wow. I mean I’ve wanted to crawl into my screen before, but this really struck me. Well done RA.

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  4. Thank heaven for the Hobbit!:)
    For me the possibility of abandoning this series(I mean’Project down’;))is like the ultimate proof of the existence of God.!;)
    Do you imagine ?..our dear Richie in that(I beg your pardon)bloody c##p!

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  5. I liked the title song of SB:Project Dawn. See, I said something nice about SB! 🙂

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  6. I had to choose the horse answer. I am sure RA is missing Ricky every day *lol*

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  7. I agree about missing Ritchie. And who wouldn’t miss working out until they vomit? But SB Project Dawn was such a load of garbage that I have to think RA is thrilled to have dumped it, even without having moved along to The Hobbit.

    Is there an answer about sitting back and counting royalty checks? Because as much as I love Porter, I imagine RA was just as happy to say goodbye to weak dialogue and gratuitous shirtlessness (not that i minded the lack of shirt at all).

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    • I’m not so sure about royalties, perhaps from DVD sales and airings of series 1, but I don’t know if that is common with TV shows. I remember he did say that he did earn nothing from the N&S DVD. It may even be that he had to pay a contractual penalty for leaving the show or that his lawyers managed to negotiate a compromise (not sure if those are the right legal therms).

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      • Obviously, we don’t know. In the U.S. a lead actor in a series like this would certainly receive payments upon rebroadcast. It’s probably also different given the financer (BBC vs Sky, public vs private, etc.). I’m sure he took a penalty for getting out of it. Anyway, I hope he does get some money.

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        • Hmmm, I’d be curious to know the answer to this – even for US shows. For some reason, I always thought it was mostly writers and producers who benefited from royalties (actors only to a very small degree – I vaguely recall conflict surrounding ‘Seinfeld’ actors years ago) – but I feel like the show needs to hit the magic 100 episodes threshold for syndication or something…

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    • yeah, the money has to help.

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  8. Very funny choices, Servetus! 🙂 I had to go with option #1. I’m sure he’s far too involved in his current “little” project to have time to dwell on the past. Although I’m sure he misses Richie the horse and Hungary (as if!) very much and can’t wait to come back (wishful thinking!)! 🙂

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    • He was always very complimentary about Hungary.

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      • Um, didn’t he once liken it to working in a convection oven (wihen the fans were blowing)?

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        • He said a lot of nice things about the woods, the people. Even a little about Budapest. Although, on the whole, he’s not someone who tends to say negative stuff about anything — at least not so far as it makes it into the press.

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          • *grin* Yes, I am aware of how polite and complimentary Armitage always is despite having to work in unpalatable working conditions. 😉

            Me – when the weather gets that hot, I’m usually thinking, ‘Argh, this is how a brick oven pizza must feel while it’s cooking’ … which is why the ‘convection oven’ comment caught my attention. 🙂

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  9. I think it’ll forever be a loose end for him, as I expect he hoped it to continue, but I doubt he will ever regret choosing The Hobbit. I enjoyed SB1 a lot – it is Armitage in the lead role, after all, no supporting character or ensemble cast rubbish. He undoubtedly made it much better than it would have been without him, and they lost a lot when he left. I would recommend SB1 to any Armitage fan. Without him, I am kind of indifferent to the second and potential third series, it’s something that I may catch occasionally and enjoy, but would never regret missing. However I am curious to see in what direction they take the third series.

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    • Yeah, it’s possibly just me, but I also think it’s kind of a loose end. You don’t so much regret not doing it anymore as wonder what might have happened had you done so. And even the jobs I’ve had that I hated had enough ameliorating characteristics to make me think about them at times.

      I also agree — good point — about the single lead (as opposed to lead in an ensemble). I’ve stopped watching SB though. Not my kind of thing so much.

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  10. In my ideal world, Richard Armitage could have done both Strike Back and The Hobbit. However, I’m beyond thrilled he’s breaking into motion pictures.

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    • He was so irresistible in SB.

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    • He may have done SB2 and The Rover, he was certainly prepared to do SB2 and seemed serious about The Rover, but said, he told the Spooks writers to do with his character whatever they want, so maybe he had decided to leave before the Hobbit was confirmed.

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  11. Great poll! I had to pick the first one. Armitage seems to be an ‘always moving forward to the next adventure’ type. He likes what he’s doing while he’s doing it. But I’m sure he longs for the days of easily makeup! I remember the actor who played Gimli in LOTR complaining that the makeup basically peeled his face off. I hope they’ve improved it.

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    • I think that’s right — it’s a nice way to be, enjoying yourself while you’re doindg what you’re doing.

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      • Living in the moment is something I’ve always struggled with but have recently integrated into my daily life with some success….makes a huge difference in my attitude.

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