Autumn is here, gloriously, and with daylight savings time in place, I find myself catching an hour of tele, usually of the British variety, before turning to my most recent mystery novel ( I am on the third book in the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King–The Moor. Delightful, but a blog entry of its own). I haven’t been glutteonous in my viewing, dear readers, but what follows is a slow accumulation of what I’ve watched over the months since I last posted in “Television Mysteries.”
It’s getting a bit chilly at night, so if you need something to light the internal fire and get your pulse pounding, check out Luther. Why? Because Idris Elba, that’s why. I wish he had a YouTube channel where he just read the newspaper aloud and cooked, and went about the daily business of being Idris Elba. I would not complain if he did all of the above shirtless. I am not objectifying Elba–he is a gifted actor, but his upper torso is also like seeing Michelangelo’s “David” come alive. Honestly, if you are anything like me, Elba’s physical beauty and delicious accent are going to have to pull you through the first three episodes, but then it picks up speed, and is entirely worth watching on Netflix and Acorn.
Another fine series, of the cat-and-mouse thriller variety is Line of Duty. In the first series, I admired the complex characters and the moral complexity of the protagonist and the Anticorruption Unit that’s on his tail. As a fiction writer, I had an issue with the ending. It wasn’t inevitable and I was unconvinced. I’ll also admit I’m struggling a bit in season two, because the female anticorruption DCI is failing miserably at like, I don’t know–detecting? Hello? Huge missed clues have me screaming at the screen, but the acting is convincing and the plot is compelling. The dialogue on the whole snaps and while I’m rooting for the innocent detective under investigation, I’m enjoying coming to terms with the fact that ain’t none of the detectives squeaky clean or entirely ethical. Both seasons are available on Acorn.
I also viewed an awesome Masterpiece Mystery three part series entitled Place of Execution. I searched for this title, as a series of “Best Mysteries To Watch Now” lists held the title, but it was hard to find. I purchased it on iTunes for $3.99. Totally worth it, and it features Lee Inglesby, whom I adore (and who makes a villainous appearance in the third season of Luther!), as an outsider detective trying to crack open a case in a village that doesn’t take kindly to strangers. I loved the braiding of past and present, and the protagonist, a video journalist, who also unravels the mystery of herself while attempting to reopen a case from 1963. So worth the $3.99.
My last two recommendations are absolutely charming series, and some may argue that they don’t adhere firmly to the rules and expectations of the mystery genre. I am going to have to politely disagree. First, do your heart a favor and watch The Dectectorists. It centers on two best friends who are metal detectorists. It’s funny, and sad, and meaningful, and just charming. This series melted many a stressful day away, and gave me a few jolly good laughs out loud. I think it has everything to do with the mystery of being alive, the mystery of living in community, the mystery of what it means to search, and to love, and to have to keep figuring it all out. I truly, truly, truly was taken by this fabulous series. Plus the theme song by Johnny Flynn is gorgeous and will make you weep. It would often prompt me to go plant a big one on my main squeeze, who I would search for, always, and who is my treasure. This gem is available on Acorn.
Finally, a series that I turn to in order to relax and soothe me is The British Baking Show. A cooking show on a mystery blog? Damn right! Is there anything more mysterious than the creation of delicious edibles, and our appetites? It has everything–the mystery of who will succeed in baking unimaginable sponges and such, and who won’t. My daughter also approves because the judges are curious and overall, quite kind. The hosts are fabulous, absconding with chocolate mousse and telling fabulously naughty little jokes. What I really love is the intense concentration of the bakers and their motivations for baking–what is it that compels us to feed others, and to create culinary art that satisfies the stomach, the sweet tooth–and ultimately–as a baker or cook, we always hope–the heart.
I hope all of the series above will provide you with boundless entertainment, sweet respite from the early darkness, and a reminder of all that’s deliciously mysterious about the world we inhabit! Cheerio mystery lovers, and drop me a line if any of these series are your spot of tea!