Spent some time catching up on series this weekend. As it turns out, they were all imports. Some I’ve talked about in the past and a few are new.
The Escape Artist
Currently in process and starring Tennant (The Politician’s Husband) and Okenodo (Mayday) together again. This is a high powered suspense thriller with great writing and an excellent cast, including Toby Kebbell (The East) and Ashley Jensen. It is also more than a little shocking and creepy thanks to blunt characterizations. Watching Silk before this will give you a huge leg up on how and what the heck is going on if you are unfamiliar with the British legal system around court representation.
As long as you can get past what you know to be the existing myths (Greek, Roman, and otherwise), this Hercules-like series has a good deal of humor and action. Also some nice star-power to get it going with Juliette Stevenson (Place of Execution), Alexander Siddig (Deep Space 9, Syriana), and an additional personal favorite, Jemima Rooper (Hex, Kinky Boots). Sure it is cheesy and, sure, they are loose with their references and conflation of cultures, but it is diverting, and sometimes that’s enough.
By Any Means
Imagine Leverage meets Hustle but working for the London Met. No surprise on this combination of ideas as one of the main creators is Toby Jordan, who created and/or wrote for Hustle and Life on Mars. Brown (Luther, Good Cop), Conn (Party Animals, Terra Nova), and Potts (Primeval: New World, get to have fun, get to be snarky, and always get their target. It is only marginally believable, but you love it for the sheer inventiveness and near magic-trick approach to their problems. Silly fun with actors I’ve enjoyed for a while, so why not waste an hour?
The Paradise (series 2)
The first series really had a full arc and completion, so opening it up for a second run was going to have some pain. Especially given its competitor, Mr Selfridge, which is following a similar storyline. While there are some attempts to break the show out of its origins, it is still the romance novel created by Zola despite all of the cultural and political fin de siecle that are rocking their world. That type of story either enchants or not, depending on your preferences.
Ripper Street (series 2)
Having Ripper Street back is a treat, and it starts the new series with a nice bang, if feeling a bit like a Kung-Fu episode. The characters continue their stories in believable ways and the issues of the world continue to march forward. It isn’t an easy hour’s entertainment, but it continues to be an intriguing hour. As a companion series to Whitechapple, it builds some odd resonances.