Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Scott & Bailey: Season 4

July 21, 2018

I finished Season 4 of Scott & Bailey on vacation. I watched very little television, but did catch the final few episodes of this solid television series from England. The best from Season 4: the promotion, Rachel’s Mom, Janet’s daughter Elise leaving home, Rachel and her sexy new man, Gill’s drinking, Gill’s impending retirement, and the slaves at the farm. Hard to believe only one more to go. Time flew by with Janet and Rachel. 4 out of 5.


The Best British Detective Series, Ranked (Ranker)

July 7, 2018

British Detective Series, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Or at least list the series I have loved over the years. Yanks sure do love a good Brit copper show. Here are some of Reel Charlie’s favorites compiled from a list over at Ranker,

The Bletchley Circle
The Fall
Happy Valley
Prime Suspect
Scott & Bailey
Second Sight
Touching Evil
Wire in the Blood

Click on the links above for Reel Charlie season one reviews.
See the full list at Ranker.
Which are your favorites? There’s so many to choose from and so many winners.

Scott & Bailey: Season 3

July 2, 2018

Season 3 turned out to be the most complex and shocking Scott & Bailey so far. Friendships destroyed, difficult relatives, free-fall marriages, difficult cases and a mole among the staff are just some of the challenges facing Janet and Rachel in this twisty eight-episode arc. Really love this show. It’s so easy to watch. Nothing too complicated and yet the quality never falters. 4 out of 5.

Scott & Bailey: Season 2

June 26, 2018

Still loving the British police procedural, Scott & Bailey. Fun to see the genders reversed – the women to be making the decisions, drinking too much, fucking up their relationships, and solving all the crimes. Best parts of Season 2: Janet’s marital problems, Rachel’s brother Dominic, Sean’s reappearance in Rachel’s life, Andy’s reappearance in Janet’s life, Sean’s surprise family member, Andy and Janet’s screw-up at work, Nick Savage’s reappearance, and Rachel’s Mom who helps with the cliffhanger. Kudos to the direction and writing. Tight, smart and easy to digest, Scott & Bailey is perfect for almost any occasion. Breezed through this second season full of surprises and filled with the familiarity of our heroines. 4 out of 5.

Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Man in an Orange Shirt

June 19, 2018

PBS’ Masterpiece imports another outstanding British production, Man in an Orange Shirt available today on DVD and streaming. The film tells the love stories of two male couples, one post WWII and one in present day England. British novelist Patrick Gale wrote Man in an Orange Shirt. If you haven’t read any Gale, I suggest starting with Rough Music or The Facts of Life. Gale is a master of storytelling in multiple time periods. Man in an Orange Shirt focuses on love, but also exposes the destruction the closet can reap on gay people and their loved ones, particularly their opposite-sexed spouses. Michael and Thomas struggle to hold on to their love in an unforgiving 1940’s England. Michael marries Flora while Thomas faces the law. Michael’s grandson Adam meets Steve as they face modern-day challenges of open relationships and online hook-ups. For both couples, the closet and societal acceptance prove their biggest hurdles. Writing, production values, acting, directing all first-rate. The story is told in two parts starting as the war comes to an end and finishing in present time. Man in an Orange Shirt feels like something I will want to revisit in the very near future. Thrilled these stories are being written and produced for television. Lots of tears with ultimately one happy ending. 4 out of 5 for Man in an Orange Shirt.

Scott & Bailey: Season 1

June 17, 2018

Sally Wainwright’s (Happy Valley) police procedural, Scott & Bailey currently streams five seasons on Amazon Prime. Scott & Bailey provides detective comfort food while boasting a female driven cast and crew. The women on the show screw up just as much as the men but I have to say it’s refreshing seeing a perspective from the girls club this time around. We could use a lot more shows like Scott & Bailey. The series stars Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp in title roles with Amelia Bullmore as their DCI boss. All three women carve out natural and memorable characters. Combining the best of smart police work with short-lived cases and a bit of sexual tension and drama from the women, Scott & Bailey goes down easy and is the perfect Friday night Amazon and chill. 4 out of 5 for this addictive drama.

Safe (2018)

June 4, 2018

Not to be confused with Todd HaynesSafe, an amazing 1995 indie film starring Julianne Moore – Netflix import, Safe starring Michael C. Hall simply didn’t grab me. I’m not always up for a missing persons story turning into a soap opera. There’s more than a bit of an ick factor when filmmakers cross that line. Either make fun of a serious genre ala John Waters or be true and tell a compelling story. Safe simply relied on too many worn out tropes. 2 out of 5. Next.

Harlan Coben’s Safe

May 31, 2018

American writer Harlan Coben scored well with his mini-series, The Five, a British import to Netflix. Up next, French-British export Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) as a widowed father whose daughter disappears a year after her mother’s death. I was hoping Safe would be thrilling. Instead the first episode went from predictable to silly. Sometimes I feel like I can see into the creation of a script which inhibits me from sitting back and enjoying the show. Safe felt contrived for the genre and not particularly creative. Gated communities harbor evil. Oooh, scary. Uh, not really. 2 out of 5. Next.

Mum: Season 1

May 21, 2018

Watched the first two episodes of the British family dramedy, Mum starring Leslie Manville (Phantom Thread, and nearly every Mike Leigh film). Mum is a lovely half-hour show about a newly widowed 60-something woman struggling to find her way after the death of her husband. Mum is quiet and quirky. I wanted to love it more, but it just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. So I’m saying goodbye. 3 out of 5 for Mum.

Mum is currently available on DVD and Britbox.

Unforgotten: Season 2

May 16, 2018

ITV continues their outstanding new British police procedural with Season 2 of Unforgotten. Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are back as Cassie and Sunny, partners unearthing historical crimes. Season 1 takes place in the 1970’s. This season we travel back to the 1990’s with several complicated suspects and a huge surprise ending. Don’t be fooled by Unforgotten‘s quiet demeanor. There’s nuance and suspense in this series that feels very adult in ways which overshadow the immaturity of many police shows. 4 out of 5 for this captivating effort.

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