Posts tagged #British TV

Summer Binges

What do you watch when you get home from work? (I’m assuming here that most people plop, exhausted, on the couch after work every single night because that’s exactly what I do) I noticed this summer that my post-work TV viewing revolved around suspense dramas and murder, so I thought I’d rank the six shows I binged between June and August.

How To Get Away With Murder (streaming on Netflix): We’re obviously starting with the worst because, man, this show. It’s a few years old now, but I’d never seen it, so I watched the first season and half of the second and then I turned it off for good. A law professor literally teaches her students how to, well, you know - get away with murder. It was interesting at first, but then it became a huge tangled web of deceit with no resolution in sight. When one situation or threat was cleared, another (more implausible than the last) had already started brewing. It caused more stress than a day at work and I know murder shows aren’t all relaxation and mindlessness, but jeez. No thanks. And I couldn’t get past Alfred Enoch not being Dean Thomas from Harry Potter.  

Goliath (streaming on Amazon Prime): This show is ranked second lowest on my list, but that’s not to say it was bad; it just wasn’t as intriguing (to me) as the other shows I watched. Billy Bob Thornton plays a smart and once powerful attorney who now drinks more than he practices law. In the first season, he’s talked into taking on a wrongful death case against a large corporation who happens to be represented by his previous firm (that he helped build) and conspiracies are unveiled. I liked the plot of first season more than the second, where a young boy is framed for murder; howeverrrrr… the second season had some pretty surreal situations that I feel need mentioning. Mark Duplass plays an unscrupulous developer who has some pretty specific turn ons involving H.R. Pufnstuf and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it was one of the most bizarre things I’d seen on TV for awhile. I just sat on my couch with an unbelieving and horrified look on my face - and doesn’t a reaction like that at least make for decent television?

The Tunnel (streaming on Amazon Prime and PBS Passport): My first (and not last) British show on the list. This is where my true love of crime procedural lies - across the pond. Or, in this case, across the Channel. The Tunnel is three seasons of the British working with the French to solve trans-Channel murder and crime. And yes, there are some subtitles. Like Goliath, the first season is the best and most plausible, but they’re all cleverly developed. I enjoyed the interaction between the two lead detectives -- Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon from Game of Thrones) and Clémence Poésey -- as they learned to trust each other and work as a team. They’re short at six episodes per season and the third and final season aired this summer.

Marcella (streaming on Netflix): Another British murder drama, this time with an extremely flawed and complicated lead (wait, isn’t that every murder mystery?). The first season aired a few years ago and I loved it. Anna Friel (from Pushing Daisies) plays Marcella Backland, a headstrong detective and mother who goes in and out of often-violent blackout episodes stemming from an unrealized traumatic event in her past. The second season aired this year and she finally delves deep enough in her psyche to understand what she’s been trying to bury for the last several years. There are definitely some intense scenes and, honestly, some are very disturbing and dark - notably more so than in the first season. Is it weird that that’s exactly what I love in a suspense show? The crazy ending leaves an opening for further seasons, but on a completely different path. Definitely check it out.

Sharp Objects (streaming on HBO Go): Sharp Objects is based on the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, of Gone Girl fame. Over the course of a year or so, in the sleepy Missouri town of Wind Gap, two girls have been found brutally murdered. A reporter from St. Louis returns to her hometown to cover the latest murder and is brought face-to-face with her haunted past. Family and town dynamics are explored at a slow, but satisfying pace. The show feels distinctly Southern Gothic and patience is key for the reward of a shocking twist at the end… don’t skip the credits. I usually read books before I watch the TV or movie adaptation, but I was so disgusted with How To Get Away With Murder, I jumped into Sharp Objects without reading first. I’ve heard the show is slightly different than the book, so I think I’ll pick that up soon.

Endeavour (streaming on Amazon Prime and PBS Passport): Alright. This is it. As much as I love crazy, dark, and twisted murders, there’s nothing better than a British cozy mystery and Endeavour very much satisfies that sub-genre. My favorite class in college was British Detective Fiction - we read a mystery each week and broke down the genre from its origins to present-day trends. Everything from Agatha Christie to Colin Dexter, who, as it happens is directly connected to Endeavour. Colin Dexter is known for Inspector Morse - a slightly-more-than-middle-aged man who solves crimes across the city of Oxford, England. He debuted in 1975 and appeared in more than 13 novels across more than two decades (there was also a British TV series based on the books than ran almost as long). Endeavour imagines Morse as he would have been in the 1960s before he moved through the ranks of the British constabulary system. It’s just delightful and well-made. Each episode is approximately 90 minutes, so there’s plenty to sink into if you’re looking for a long-term relationship with a fictional character.

Posted on September 2, 2018 and filed under TV Reviews.

5 Shows You Should Be Streaming Right Now

We live in a diamond-encrusted golden age of Television right now. There are an abundance of quality choices when it comes how you spend 8+ hours staring at a screen. You probably already have a dozen or so shows that your friends say you need to watch. Well, let me make that Watchlist even longer and more intimidating. Here are 5 shows you should be streaming right now.  To make this list each show must meet two very simple criteria: is it good? yes. does it get talked about very often? no. Congratulations! you just made the list. The shows are in no particular order. 

Catastrophe is the story of an American business man that gets and Irish woman pregnant while on a business trip. The show is unique because it is written by it's two lead actors; Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney (everyone's favorite character from the new Deadpool film). The series is filled with big laughs but also poignant and heart-wrenching moments of introspective brilliance as you watch the couple struggle through decisions about their relationship and the future of their child. Catastrophe also has the distinct honor of being one of the late-great Carrie Fisher's final performances. There are 4 seasons and 24 episodes waiting for you on Amazon Prime. 

Fleabag is the story about a young woman living in London and trying to cope with a recent tragedy all while being kind of a trainwreck. This series stars the suddenly everywhere all of the time Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge has recently become a critical acclaim magnet for her writing on the BBC series Killing Eve and her work on the new Star Wars Story Solo. Before her time in space she wrote and starred in both Fleabag and Crashing, two of my favorite shows from 2016. There are 8 episodes spanning 2 seasons waiting for you on Amazon Prime. You can also check out the one season of Crashing on Netflix, you won't be disappointed by that either. 

Ripper Street is much different from the first two picks. This is the story of Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and his team policing the streets of Whitechapel while they are terrorized by Jack the Ripper and other baddies. This series stars Matthew Macfayden who you may know from MI-5 or Russel Crowe's Robin Hood movie and Jerome Flynn, Bronn from Game of Thrones. Ripper Street is just a fun detective show that grabs you as soon as you see the first Ripper victim. The story isn't just about Jack the Ripper though Edmund Reid's team investigates a new strange murder every episode. The characters are well written and the mysteries are exciting. It's not quite Sherlock but it will help fill that void until you Cumberbatch and Freeman make their way back to Baker Street. There are 36 episodes in 5 seasons on both Amazon Prime and Netflix

Sneaky Pete is special. The show was created by Bryan Cranston (he also guest stars) and David Shore. Giovanni Ribisi plays a talented con man that decides to take over his cell-mate Pete's life after he gets out of prison. It's been so long since the family has seen cousin Pete that they immediately take him in and welcome him back to the family bail bond business. The show is episode after episode of shit hitting different fans as Ribisi struggles to keep up with all his lies and keep track of his ever-growing list of enemies. So far there are 20 episodes in 2 seasons on Amazon Prime

Ugly Delicious is Chef's Table's little brother. It's less refined, less artistic, but probably more likely to make your mouth water. I love food shows even if they are just used as a background noise. David Chang travels the world eating good food that may not be pretty but it's definitely tasty. This is the newest show on the list by a long shot, it hit Netflix a few weeks ago very quietly. This should hold you over until Anthony Bourdain makes some new content for one of his 5 million shows. 1season with 8 episodes on Netflix streaming right now.

 

What would you put on the list? Tell us all about your favorite under the radar shows that are available to stream now.