There is something about pulling back the covers of quiet English towns to reveal the squirming maggots of secrets and doubt underneath that keeps viewers coming back to what has become a standard format of mystery and intrigue. And I’m often right there with them. While you know there is something wrong out of the gate with this particular venue, the depth of that darkness and the relationships are only slowly explained.
Mayday tells the story of 5 sequential days after the disappearance of a young girl, which occurs during the opening credits. While it is primarily an English countryside mystery, it has a Gothic filter on both the lens and script that gives it an interesting edge.It was aired over 5 consecutive days, as Torchwood: Children of Earth was, and should be viewed that way. The simulated “real time” day-by-day experience creates a wonderful sense of involvement with the story, syncing your understanding to the characters’ as the disappearance is investigated and the secrets revealed. .
The cast is a collection of great surprises. Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire, Queer as Folk), Firth (MI-5), Okonedo (Martian Child), Mimmack (Inside Men), and a host of faces you’ll recognize if you spend any time with BBC fare: Spruell, Manville, McDonald, and others. The village characters range nicely from child to middle-aged adult, allowing for a mix of personalities and views into the world that many of the countryside murders never get to use.
If you’re hankering for a self-contained, little mystery with enough of an edge to set it apart, this is worth your investment.