Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Busy Binge-Watching

I have found myself wanting deeply engrossing tv lately, so I have been on a run of watching intense foreign mystery series on tv over recent weeks. It's funny -- often my preferred escapist viewing involves lighter fare, but lately I've loved the feeling of getting lost in serious, intense mysteries. Here are ones I've watched and can recommend highly:

Broadchurch -- David Tennant (you might recognize him from Dr. Who) stars in this series about a cynical, exhausted detective arriving in a small English coastal town just as a young boy's body is discovered. The search for the boy's killer, and its effect on the close-knit village, is riveting. Seasons 1& 2 are on Netflix, and Seasons 1, 2 and 3 (which picks up with the same people 3 years later) are available on Amazon Prime. I didn't want to leave this village or these characters.

Shetland - Another gorgeous coastal British setting, another complicated detective - recently widowed, trying to sort out his newly single life and an independent teen daughter -- and more grisly crimes to solve. I found the depiction of Shetland life fascinating, but I'll admit that I had to turn on the Close Captioning to subtitle the heavy scottish accents!  There are 3 seasons (all available on Netflix), plus one currently airing in the UK. I loved that season 3 involved a significant subplot involving one of the regular detectives and how crime affects women. Now I've added Shetland to my "Travel Someday" list.

Marcella -  A detective returns to work after taking time off to have her children, only to have her husband leave her -- and to discover that her husband's mistress has been murdered around the same time that Marcella had a depressed, drunken black-out episode. So there's a lot going on -- woman coping with family upheaval, re-asserting herself as a detective, and worrying about the niggling question -- could SHE had committed the murder? I loved this. All 10 episodes are on Netflix.

Bordertown - I started watching this after seeing this billed as a "Netflix original" and was surprised to find that it was totally in Finnish ,with English subtitles of course. Turns out it's a Finnish series imported to US by Netflix -- and I loved it. Another intense, quirky detective, having moved to a small town after his wife has survived surgery for a brain tumor, so the family goal is for him to start over in a job which will give him more family time.  The crimes in this series are kind of creepy -- sexual overtones, young girls -- but it was worth it to get past that to this intriguing combination crime/family drama.  I really enjoyed the sound of Finnish being spoken, too.  The "border town" aspect is that the town is across the water from St Petersburg, Russia, so the stories involve Russion influences too. Fascinating.

Doctor Foster -  This wasn't a murder mystery miniseries but it was an engrossing thriller. Dr. Gemma Foster begins to suspect that her husband is having an affair, which he convincingly denies. Is Doctor Foster paranoid? Crazy? or Perceptive and angrier by the minute? Who is lying to her, and whom can she trust? This series features a strong woman taking strong action -- sometimes bizarre but weirdly understandable, too. Definitely gripping.

Wallander - I'm currently watching this one. Moody, troubled Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is played by Kenneth Branaugh -- looking distractingly slovenly in the first episodes when his life is really a mess.  This series is a British remake of an original Swedish series, and thankfully it's in English. Moody Swedish scenery, cool to see the Swedish home decor, good mysteries and solid acting. Did I say moody? It's very moody.  And a few hints:  someone riding a motorcycle is a bad guy. And the sound of flies buzzing? Dead body. Walking alone in the Swedish woods? Soon to be followed by sound of buzzing flies. You're welcome.

Oh, and there's a young and very curly Tom Hiddleston (from the Night Manager) in the earlier series!

 I'm not tired of these serious mysteries yet, so I've got a few more lined up on my Netflix list:

And I may go crazy and veer off to a legal series --

I'll let you know how they go.  Have you watched anything great lately? What are your binge-watching pleasures?


  1. I'm SO glad you decided to keep blogging!! I've got a couple of the series you mentioned on my Netflix queue, but some are new to me. Thanks for the suggestions.

  2. I have binged on all of these and love them. Always waiting for the next season. The latest one that we are watching is The Five. We also love Bosch which is about an LA police detective.

  3. Suits is the BEST show in my book. Watch it on Amazon.

  4. Don't forget "Vera"!

  5. I loved Marcella and you are going (hopefully) to LOVE River. That song is still in my playlist. Hinterland is superb. I say hopefully regarding River as it can be confusing at first. I was going to say more but that would ruin it. I also enjoyed Longmire. True Detective with Woody Harrelson was super good.

    1. Joanne! Thank you, I'm looking forward to River! I have watched some of the Longmire series but prefer the mysteries -- I'm reading #11 right now. The show is good, but the characters all look so different from the way they are described in the book that it puts me off a bit. Have you read the Longmire books? They're fantastic.