Some quick shots from across the pond

The Passenger (Le passager)

Fascinatingly structured and with a good premise. It has weak police procedural and some overly simplified plot elements, but there is enough to keep you intrigued. The ending… well, not so satisfying and clearly with an intent to move into a second series. It is reminiscent of The Bridge’s first season, but without the tight plotting and intent to keep it as believable as possible.

Humans (series 2)

At the end of series 1, chaos was about to descend on humanity. Fortunately, that dire expectation gets a little more paced and time is provided to avoid disaster, though danger runs high on all sides of the sentience line. This second season is all about possibilities and potential. The character lines are deepened and the surviving original cast all do great. Some new players are introduced in a much more expansive story than the first installments. Sonya Cassidy (The Paradise) is particularly fascinating through this arc, and Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones) adds some good notes, though not quite as believably. It is no surprise that they leave you wanting more at the end, but that ending could comfortably be a finale or simply setting up the next set of installments.

Witness for the Prosecution (2016)

A truly great adaptation of one of the Agatha Christie stand-alone novels with notables Toby Jones (The Girl) and Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City 2). Even if you have read it, they have altered it enough (in fact they’ve strengthened it in many ways) so you will enjoy this presentation.

Naked Attraction

Want to find something that you would never see on public broadcast in the US? This is it. The concept is having guests pick a date with 1 of 6 people by looking only at their slowly revealed naked bodies. The idea appears absurd and salacious. But, in fact, it is a clever way to combat body image issues in men and women, all while having a little fun. The conversation is blunt and unvarnished about what people think of the various body parts, their ideas on sex, and there is some science thrown in as well for context. It isn’t brilliant television, but it does honestly make you think about yourself and what attracts you to someone differently than you probably have in the past.

 

The Coroner

Not quite a cozy, but neither is it overly gritty, it is more Midsommer Murders than Prime Suspect. Still, the characters are entertaining and the mysteries, at times, nicely twisty.

Doctor Blake Mysteries (series 4)

This fourth installment is a season of change for Blake and the show. Having brought us to a comfortable place at the end of last series, this one kicks off intent on keeping you off-balance. The episodic mysteries remain fairly steady and the pacing somewhat sedate; but this show was always as much about the characters as it was the discoveries, and each series has an arc to its 8 episodes. This series is no exception on that mark.

Deep Water

An interesting mystery that stretches is tendrils back to the early 80s and exposes a side of Australia you don’t often see. One of the unexpected aspects was the prominent role for Craig McLachlan (Doctor Blake) playing a very different kind of character.

Paranoid

A poor bit of procedural, but a fascinating character study and intricate murder mystery plot. It is also stacked with some great performances and recognizable faces. You’ll have to squint through some of the choices and dialogue, but for fans of British mysteries, it is a reasonable diversion and fun ride.

Class (follow-up)

For its inaugural season, Class really came through. The series is chock-full of surprises, big decisions, and intense relationships. Up through to the end it will do the unexpected… and where they go from that, I have no idea, but I’m more than willing to give them another shot to find out. This is still aimed at a young adult audience, and the writing is, at times, short-cutted (leaps in logic, wrap ups of situations) but it still manages to keep you believing and engaged thanks to the strong cast and direction.

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