Archive for the ‘Murder Mystery’ Category

The Level

August 14, 2017

Tried watching The Level, a British crime drama featuring a flawed female detective. Great cast including Noel Clarke (Metrosexuality) and Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey). In the end, I just couldn’t commit. The story didn’t seem particularly realistic to me. Too far-fetched that a cop would be at the scene of a crime, then be assigned to the case and the clock counts down to when she gets caught. She wasn’t a bad cop, so I suppose there is redemption somewhere. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. 2 out of 5. Next.

Shock to the System

July 29, 2017

The second Donald Strachey murder mystery adaptation, Shock to the System is as my late friend Bruce Kingsley said to me on Facebook, “much better than the first.” Based on the Richard Stevenson detective series, Shock to the System is number two of four books made into television films for HereTV. Chad Allen plays Strachey perfectly. Sebastian Spence plays Timmy, Don’s romantic partner. They live in Albany where Donald solves crimes. There’s nothing earth-shattering about the series other than the persona of Strachey follows a quiet, masculine appearance which older viewers may find refreshing. I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5. Decent detective murder-mystery fun.

Oops, almost forgot to mention Morgan Fairfield has a small role in this.

Deep Water on Netflix

July 13, 2017

The outstanding Australian murder-mystery mini-series, Deep Water finally streams on Netflix. Add this one to your queue now. If you need more detail, click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s review from earlier this year.

Prime Suspect Tennison Season 1

July 12, 2017

The PBS DVDs always get mailed out to the library before the season is finished airing on television. Yea for me. I breezed through the entire season of Prime Suspect Tennison the prequel to Helen Mirren’s classic, award-winning seven-part detective series. In this incarnation, we find Jane Tennison at the very start of her career. I was so worried this wasn’t going to live up to my expectations. It did and more. I loved it. Young Jane played by Stefanie Martini steps into some enormous shoes embodying the character perfectly. By the second episode all thoughts of Mirren are out of mind. This is a retro 1973 brand-new Tennison. The good old boys don’t seem quite as harsh as mid-career. Of course that may have something to do with the fact that Jane is at the bottom of the rung making coffee and working dispatch. Other cast standouts include Sam Reid and Blake Harrison. The ground work gets laid for Jane’s idiosyncrasies and obsessions. Her work ethic appears to be from birth. She hits the ground running. Episode 5 explodes reminding the viewer this is British television. Anything’s possible. I loved Prime Suspect Tennison. 4 out of 5 for this welcome prequel.

Grantchester: Season 3 Episode 1

July 7, 2017

I enjoyed Grantchester‘s first two seasons rating Season 1 a 4 out of 5 and Season 2 the same. But something happened during the first episode of the third season. The story disappeared. The situations the characters found themselves in felt absurd. And I didn’t care much for Sidney’s continued avoidance of his life and particularly Geordi’s flat existence. I’ve seen Robson Green do great things in Touching Evil and Wire in the Blood, so I know it’s not his fault nor is it the fault of James Norton playing the sexy vicar. I also desperately wanted Al Weaver’s Leonard to have a larger and more robust role. I realize quiet, feminine guys were the butt of jokes in the 1950’s. But couldn’t the writers add a bit of swagger to his role instead of adding to the stereotype by having him racing around yelling, “I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies!” Of course he didn’t actually say that in the season opener, but he might as well have. Sissy boys don’t have to be one-dimensional. They are also smart, sage-like, sexual beings. Meanwhile, I’m saying goodbye to Grantchester. 2 out of 5. That gives the overall series a 3.33 rating. Sounds about right.

Single-Handed

July 6, 2017

Dublin based police procedural series Single-Handed from 2007 currently on Netflix. I was hoping for good writing and great scenes of the city. But the series fell flat and looked like a videotaped soap opera to me. Not a good sign. The series lasted for four years, so someone must have enjoyed Single-Handed. Just not me. Sorry Ireland. 1 out of 5. Next.

Bloodline: Season 3

June 5, 2017

Saying goodbye to the Rayburns of Bloodline I felt sadness and relief. Sadness because I came to love several of the characters. Relief because I felt exhausted watching the siblings dig themselves deeper and deeper into their lies and deceit. So many unnecessary deaths. I still blame Danny who brought plague onto his family. This season in particular felt biblical. I was on the edge of my seat each episode wondering what might go wrong next and who might screw up the most. The final two episodes were a bit surreal, but I think it gave the fans what they needed – a final dose of Danny. Trying to side step any spoilers here. Sally drove me crazy, Kevin couldn’t get one thing right and Meg just fled. Poor John left to clean up everyone’s mess. All in all I loved Bloodline. It was a fun romp in the Florida Keys through the eyes of a very damaged family. 4 out of 5.

Twin Peaks: S1 & S2

May 25, 2017

Caught up with the original Twin Peaks in anticipation of the reboot which started on Showtime last weekend. Netflix has the complete series – both seasons streaming. I enjoyed the first season immensely. Felt like old times revisiting this quirky old Pacific NW logging town. With only eight episodes, the writing felt tight and attentive. Season 2 began dragging its heels weighed down by the promise of a 22-episode arc. The original ratings confirmed this as the show went from being the most watched show in the country during Season 1 to trailing in 85th place by Season 2. Still I love a good experiment and respect envelope pushing for the sake of art and especially fun. Twin Peaks did all that and more. It really changed how we view modern television, paving the way for quirkiness and niche. And the modern streaming world is one grateful off-spring. 3 out of 5 for this classic series.

Riverdale

May 25, 2017

Really enjoyed watching the first few episodes of Riverdale, The CW’s dark mystery based on the Archie comics. The print comics continue to be sweet and innocent, a blast of much-needed nostalgia in these troubled times. But the series decided to take a more serious and adult turn and it works. Loved all the secrets. Loved the inappropriate choices some of the characters made. Not sure I will continue to watch, not because it’s deficient. It definitely works on many levels and is worth checking out. 3 out of 5.

6/2017: Ended up binging on the remainder of the first season. Riverdale serves definite comfort food guilty pleasure watching for this media snob. I will admit the parents aren’t the best parts of this show. I found most of their scenes flat. Luke Perry continues to be an actor struggling, but what they lacked overall in talent they made up for in camp. And the kids which is the reason to watch Riverdale come across confident and strong. Now if only Archie and Kevin could hook up. Please!!! Kidding. Sort of. I’m enjoying Kevin flirting with the bad boy and still not looking as if he’s going to get emotionally scarred. It gets better. Thanks Archie Comics! 3.5 out of 5.

Deep Water

May 23, 2017

Australia’s 4-part mini series Deep Water based on the “real life hate murders of… up to 80 gay men in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (Bondi) beaches in the 1970s and ’80s” (Wikipedia)  might be a hard sell if the quality of production wasn’t so thoughtful. There was a documentary produced in addition to the mini-series. Starring Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black) and Noah Taylor as the detectives who link a gruesome reality of homophobic hate crimes and murders that continued through the present. The current killings are linked to the past as Stone’s Tori Lustigman uncovers a vast ritual of gay bashings dating back 30-40 years ago. Tori’s interest in the case goes from professional to personal jeopardizing the investigation at several key points. Deep Water creates a quiet, steady police procedural eschewing theatrics for methodical detective work which pays off in the end and makes the series easy to watch. Actor Jeremy Lindsay Taylor gives good eye candy as Tori’s friend Oscar who we find deeply connected to the past and puts himself into jeopardy to find answers. No denying the subject matter is difficult. The production respectfully honors the story with a steady, kind heart. 4 out of 5.

I watched Deep Water on DVD from the library. Netflix has it on DVD as well and it’s available streaming through Acorn TV.

7/12/2017: As of July 2017, Deep Water streams on Netflix.


%d bloggers like this: