Here are three shows that have been somewhat occupying my attention in recent days and weeks.
You know that I love me some MUHDUH mysteries. Normally, I watch British mysteries, including the delightfully wacky Miss Marple series. That said, I am probably the only person on the planet who hasn't seen Broadchurch, and I am thus intrigued by the American incarnation of the David Tennant series, Gracepoint. So, if you're reading this post and hoping it will contain a comparison of Gracepoint to Broadchurch, culminating in the hipster assertion that the American version WILL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS THE BRITISH VERSION, I advise you to quit this post posthaste and make some artisan cheese to assuage your frustration. Maggie Cats has written her take on Gracepoint, so I shall add my two cents.
I watched the season premiere of Gracepoint and I was pretty engrossed, and that's saying a lot since I have the attention span of your average house cat. I am stoked for all things British, but thus far I cannot say that Gracepoint is better or worse than the British version.
The plot is pretty simple and will be familiar to those who have seen Broadchurch. David Tennant stars in a role based on his role on Broadchurch. He portrays Emmett Carver, your stereotypically grizzled and disillusioned detective. Carver has a Past that is haunting and threatening to catch up with him. Butting heads with him is Detective Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn), who learned she had been replaced by Carver when she returned from family vacation. So there's already tension there. From Wikipedia:
Detective Ellie Miller is upset when Emmett Carver is assigned as lead detective while she was on vacation. Carver's first case is a cut barbed-wire fence. Twelve-year-old Danny Solano goes missing, and his body is found at the base of cliffs overlooking the local beach. Beth Solano sees her son's body on the beach and breaks down. Having known the Solanos for years, Ellie deals with her own personal struggles as well as the Solanos'. A crime scene officer says the crime scene was altered to look like an accident, and the pathologist says Danny was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Carver and Ellie disclose the cause of Danny's death to the Solanos, and Mark identifies the body. Ellie's nephew and ambitious reporter Owen Burke extracts information from Ellie for a Twitter report, causing tension with the police and upsetting the Solanos. Ellie takes the blame for Owen's action. Carver is asked if he wishes to withdraw from the case, but he does not. Renee Clemons, reporter for the San Francisco Globe, arrives in town without her supervisor's permission to try to get an exclusive on the death. Beth visits the crime scene with Ellie, and Ellie expresses her grief to her husband Joe. Ellie tells their son, Tom, about Danny's death, and he then secretly wipes his mobile phone and computer to remove evidence. Owen unwittingly provides Renee with a link to Chloe Solano, and CCTV footage shows Danny skateboarding down a street on the night of his murder. Ellie notes that Danny's phone and skateboard were not recovered at the crime scene and are missing. At a press conference, Carver urges anyone to come forward if anyone they know is behaving differently and remarks: "We will catch whoever did this."
This is one of those shows that you either commit to and follow through to the end, or you give up after the first couple of episodes. It's only 10 episodes, so the usual multi-season formula so common in American series is being put to the test here. It will be interesting to see if the British series formula works in the United States. The first episode was actually pretty engrossing, and I will continue to watch it unless it completely goes off the rails. It's my understanding that Gracepoint is a point-for-point copy of Broadchurch, so is that a good thing or a bad thing? Will they change things up and do a musical episode? I hope so. I guess Fox is trying to cash in on this critically acclaimed drama award-winning stuff. We'll see if that pans out for them.
"Just get back in your Tardis...or mope around your castle...or sweep a chimney...or something."
I enjoyed the pilot because it was full of intrigue and I like intrigue. Also, being from a small town in the Midwest has given me a healthy appreciation for small-town hypocrisy, Dirty Little Secrets kept by "elite" members of the social hierarchy, and community tragedies revealing cracks in the idyllic veneer. It's sort of my milieu. Yes, I used milieu in a sentence.
British Columbia stars as Northern California.
Gracepoint airs 9 p.m. EST Thursdays on Fox.
Okay, so ITV and PBS totally LIED about last season being the last season ever of Inspector Lewis. It was probably just a conspiracy to get us all to go console ourselves with Endeavour, which is great, don't get me wrong, but ZOMG Lewis & Hathaway.
Our conclusion: The pints were MUHDUHED. We MUHDUHED these mofos.
It is really good to see Hathaway and Lewis back together solving MUHDUHS again. At the end of last season, Lewis (Kevin Whatley) was set to retire and go shack up with and/or marry the Lady Coroner, Laura Hobson. A disillusioned Hathaway was quitting the force to pursue that most common of affluent white people past times, to Find Himself. Anyway, Hathaway decides that himself done got founded and returns to the Oxfordshire PD, as Detective Inspector Hathaway. Superintendent Jean Innocent asks Lewis to return as a consultant, even though he is retired. For plot reasons. It is called Inspector Lewis, after all. Continuity, people. Continuity.
Hathaway has a new underling, Detective Sergeant Lizzie Maddox, A Lady. I ship them.
Other than the changes, it's the same academic MUHDUHS and high-jinks in the homicide-laden Oxford.
Inspector Lewis generally airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on PBS.
As you may recall from my post last year, I was all aflutter about The Paradise, BBC's answer to ITV's Mr. Selfridge and Downton Abbey.
"Okay, so. For this scene, girls, think Clueless."
I am including it in my post about MUHDUH because THE BBC MUHDUHED THIS SHOW. They MUHDUHED IT.
I'm not sure when and where this crime occurred. I think it happened when the BBC realized they could tart up trashy soap operas with crinolines and a few bustles and call it art. THANKS DOWNTON ABBEY. The Paradise has lost its soul. I think mayhaps the writers are searching high and low for material. The show is still pretty good, but it's not AS good as the first season. Perhaps its just the sophomore curse, but BBC of course canceled the show so there will be no season 3 of The Paradise. More Big Brother UK coming to a tele near you, Britons.
After Moray and Katherine Glendenning's marriage plans fell through at some point after the end of last season, she (Bitchtits) banished him to Paris and away from his True Love, Denise.
Denise and Mr. Moray have consecrated their luvz for one another (not in that way; get your minds out of the gutter) so as they are no longer gazing longingly at each other over a window dressing
I want you to dress me like one of your French girls.
the tension between them has lessened somewhat, shall we say. Since Bitchtits is now married to a philandering gajillionaire widower, and is no longer overtly trying to rape Moray, the show has had to create drama elsewhere. I was underwhelmed by the season premiere, and I was left perplexed by the second episode of the season.
A couple of new characters have joined the cast. Katherine aforementioned hubby, Tom Weston, is a psychologically scarred war veteran whose first wife died, leaving him with his young daughter, Flora. Katherine has decided that Flora makes a nice pet, so she has showered her with attention and fripperies and furbelows from the store. Since Moray ended up losing the store ownership to the Glendennings, to whom he owed money, Katherine and Tom now own the store, since Katherine's father died. Weston constantly cheats on Katherine and brazenly makes passes at everything in a skirt, including shop girl Clara, and Katherine is probably scheming to destroy Moray while pretending to have forgiven Moray for his betrayal and to also destroy Denise for a-stealin' her man. Yeah, yeah. Katherine says she's reformed but considering how batshit crazy she was on Season 1 I'm guessing she's got something up her finely laced sleeve.
Another new character is the scullery wench/cook/token Cockney, Myrtle. Myrtle works in the kitchen at The Paradise and shouts at everyone loudly in an accent indicative of the lower social orders. She generally looks unkempt, sweaty, and as she is working class, she is more than a little bit slutty, indicated by her low-cut frock, messy hair, and boobs jacked to Jesus.
Don't 'it me!
Anyway, I will continue to watch and see it through to the end/death of the series. I'm sorry to see the series go off the air. It had a solid first season and this season is entertaining if a bit silly.
Catch The Paradise on PBS. It generally airs on Masterpiece on Sundays, but as always with PBS, check your local listings.