The ultimate beauty of the Summer Binge is the ability to expose your eyeballs to shows and series you might never have watched/noticed previously. As caught up as I am in my regular TV viewing during the fall and spring seasons, the summer brings a new crop of interesting dramas from across the pond that have a distinctly different feel than U.S.-based dramas. Because I am here for YOU, here’s the invasion of foreign dramas that ran across my Netflix© queue these hot months:
“Happy Valley”-Yorkshire policewoman Catherine has to be there for a community ravaged by drugs, her recovering addict sister, estranged son AND raise her deceased daughter’s son. Trying to keep it all together while capturing her daughter’s rapist (and the valley’s resident sadistic murderer) is a full-time job and a half.
“Marcella”-Stay at home mum (and former detective) Marcella is pulled back into a serial killer cold case that eluded her previously. Coupled with heading back to a stressful job catching evil people, her marriage crumbles when her husband leaves her for his girlfriend of THREE years! Did I also mention that Marcella blacks out and goes on rampages? Oh yeah, there’s that too. A+ work by Anna Friel as Marcella.
“River”-Detective Sergeant River sees dead people-specifically dead people that have effected his police work. His partner-murdered in front of him-was the love of his life and his method of coping is talking to her…a hallucination that no one else sees. With a strong supporting cast and Stellan Skarsgard acting cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs superbly, this thriller has it all.
“Mr. Selfridge”-based on the real-life Harry Selfridge, founder of one of London’s largest department stores, the series explores how the store came to fruition and what it meant to Londoners. At times a lovable outsider, Harry Selfridge proved to be a shrewd businessman with a penchant for spending and the ladies. Showcasing a very feminist attitude toward women in the workplace-at a time when the womanly ideal was wife and mother and nothing else-Harry Selfridge supported all of his staff and workers, from dock workers to executives. A fun and dramatic look at London society life spanning 25 years.
“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”-the only non-British drama out of the bunch, MFMM focuses on 1929 Melbourne, Australia “Lady Detective” Phryne Fisher. A glamorous, modern feminist, Phryne’s tagline is “I don’t go looking for murder…murder finds me.” Utilizing skills of wit, tactical logistics and a companion/Girl Friday named Dot, Phryne is the best of the best. Impressing the local detective inspector Jack Robinson (professionally AND personally, winkkkkk), the sparks fly when Phryne and Jack are on screen together. My favorite of all the series I binged this summer, MFMM has a feminist gaze and structure that is missing in more than a few dramas.
Hopefully you’ll get a kick out of watching some of these interesting and varied dramas. Next week, our focus moves to all other dramas and wraps up our summer series.