It's been a couple of months since I did a crime tv round up. I've watched another group of crime TV shows so it's time for another. I continue to maintain that the best crime fiction shows are not on network TV, and aren't even necessarily American. It doesn't take much effort to find a show that will make you turn your back on the CSI's of the world (a good show that has run its course).
The Republic of Doyle
The Republic of Doyle is a Canadian PI show set in St. John's, Newfoundland. It is available on DVD from Amazon for a very reasonable price. Doyle is an episodic show influenced by classic detective shows like Magnum PI and The Rockford Files. A couple of years ago NBC tried launching a reboot of Rockford, well, a strong Rockford-esque show was already happening north of the border. The show is light hearted, fast paced, funny, and fun. A totally winning combination.
Peaky Blinders dropped like a damn A bomb when it hit Netflix. That's how good it is. This is like a UK Boardwalk Empire but with a harder edge. It's beautifully shot, has great performances, and a pure crime fiction plot. Trust me, you will love Peaky Blinders.
Wentworth is an Australian show about a women's prison that is available on Netflix. I've long wondered why networks didn't buy up the broadcast rights to other countries TV shows and put them in the line-up, especially English language shows that wouldn't need any translations or subtitles. Netflix seems to be doing just that and are filling a long unexploited opportunity.
If Peaky Blinders dropped like an A-bomb Wentworth is ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. The obvious comparison for this show is Orange is the New Black but those comparisons are only superficial. This is a harder edged, less funny show. Bea Smith's epic transformation from abused wife to take no shit, baddest bitch on the block is something to behold. It's not just Bea, these women are bad mother fuckers that aren't to be messed with. This show seems to be flying under the radar and doesn't have a lot of people talking about it but holy hell is it worth it.
Broadchurch series one
Broadchurch is on Netflix and I'm glad I finally caught up with it. Broadchurch builds to a stunning conclusion that knocks the wind out all of the characters sails and the reader too. Broadchurch is exactly the kind of noir-ish show that I love because it takes the time to build to something that just leaves you gutted. I'll admit to seeing skeptical about the new series because it came to such a final conclusion but I'll keep an open mind.
Bletchley is available on Netflix also. This is a show with a great concept, four women who were code breakers during the war come together to use their skills to solve a mystery. The first series is kind of brilliant. It structured and paced for maximum effect. My only complaint is that the first series is too much show and if it had a few more episodes to allow the story to unfold, to explore in greater depth some story elements, and to allow some of the moments to resonate more it would have been a perfect season. The second series is good but doesn't have nearly the same amount of power as the first. It tends to coast on its premise and unfold too quickly (each story in s2 has two episodes).
Southcliffe is about as harrowing a show as you are going to find. It's about a man who goes on a shooting spree and the huge impact of the community dealing with the aftermath. This is just a gut wrenching and heart breaking show.
Finally caught Fargo on DVD. Wow. This show lives up to every accolade that has been thrown at it. I was a little nervous about Fargo but it finds a unique place in relationship to the original movie and the greater Coen Brothers universe. It's funny, it's unexpected, it's a totally satisfying 10 hour movie. An amazing show that I can't wait to watch again.