A trio of TV imports

The Fall (series 2)

While the first series of The Fall was good, it was almost forced in its weirdness and focused on the failings of Anderson’s (Hannibal) character as much, if not more, than anything else. The second round is much more about the cat-and-mouse game between Dornan (Marie Antoinette)  and Anderson’s characters, and is much better balanced and written overall. The ending (if it is an ending) gets more telegraphed than I would have liked, but the story is more mature and satisfying than the first; an unusual event for a series.

The Missing (series 1)

There has been a lot of press around this show. It is a self-contained, 8 episode arc around the abduction and search for the child of a couple played by Nesbit (The Hobbit, Murphy’s Law) and O’Connor (Mr Selfridge). O’Connor plays a woman with so many ups and downs and changes, it is a wonder she doesn’t fully shatter before your eyes; it is a wonderful performance. Nesbit is a bit less believable and relatable. He is too violent all of the time, too close to boiling over. It may be realistic and may serve the story, but over 8 episodes it becomes a bit less compelling and you lose sympathy for him as a person. Losing that sympathy hurts the show overall, however good the plot and the rest of the writing is.

Supporting the injured couple, Karyo (A Very Long Engagement) creates a fabulous detective brought out of retirement to solve his remaining open case. He serves as an anchor to the story, even as his own life has complexities. In other roles, Stott (The Hobbit), Taghmaouri (Vantage Point) and De Voogdt (Ben X) each add to the whole in rather intense ways.

The series will return with a new story, much like True Detective.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries (series 2)

This second go-round of the Australian Blake mysteries has matured nicely. The first series focused almost entirely on mysteries driven by 50’s cultural naivete and by Blake’s own personal demons. These next 10 installments are generally better mysteries, some nice nods to the growth of forensics, and allowed Blake to settle into the world around him rather than being a constant outsider. There are threads that pull from the first series and some changes. Supporting characters are given their due this round too. It’s sophomore outing was very promising.  The show is somewhere between a typical cozy and some of the darker BBC mysteries. It isn’t typically in-your-face violence, but the subject matter can get rather dark. If you liked the first series, the second will definitely grab you even more.

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