Archive for the ‘Murder Mystery’ 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.

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.

Riverdale: Season 2

May 24, 2018

Spoiler alert: What a crazy, messed up, hodgepodge show Riverdale became in Season 2. All sense of reality and cohesion went out the window. Co-workers bailed on it. I continued each week (on The CW app with commercials – ugh!) shocked at just how ridiculous the series veered off-course. Season 1 set it up to be this cool high school hipster cozy mystery series. Season 2 jumped off a cliff and never looked back. Somehow I continued to love and hate many of the characters. Those who annoyed me in the first season, continued their plague. And those I loved never got enough screen time. WTF happened to Josie and Kevin? Finally in the last episode, Kevin’s make-out with Moose happened. But if felt too little too late. Are there too many characters? Is Archie’s hair too artificially orange? Is Veronica really in high school? Does Betty’s Mom remind me of a character on Twin Peaks? So many questions, so little time with so many characters and plot lines begging for attention. I hated the Serpents. I loved Kevin’s Dad. I hated Betty’s’s Dad, I loved Betty’s Mom. I found Chic to be creepy which I suppose was the point. I have no idea whether I will watch Season 3. If this were on HBO and a bit more adult, it might be fun. But the golly shucks, there’s another dead body vibe wears thin after a while. 3 out of 5 for Riverdale because I did make it to the end.

Unforgotten: Season 1

April 27, 2018

Add one more well-done, formulaic (in a good way), police procedural from the Brits who nearly always do this better than any other country. Nicola Walker (Touching Evil, MI-5) stars in Unforgotten as DCI Cassie Stuart, assigned a 40 year-old murder upon discovery of a teenage boy’s remains. Sanjeev Bhaskar  co-stars as DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan, Stuart’s right-hand man. The show follows all the rules with surprises along the way. In this particular series, several families become involved with the murder. The viewer has no idea who the actual killer is. And it almost doesn’t matter as the families unravel over the exposure of the crime and the secrets each person kept hidden all these years. Supporting cast includes Peter Egan, Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Tom Courtenay, and Brian Bovell. Particularly outstanding performances from Gemma Jones and Ruth Sheen who took my breath away. Most of you know I have loved Nicola Walker for a very long time. I think she is one of the best working actresses in Britain today. She’s nuanced and smart. Unforgotten held up beautifully and even left me with more than a few surprises. Always delighted when that happens. It’s odd, but it looks like Season 2 gets released in May, so here we go! 4 out of 5 for Unforgotten.

Amazon Prime Video Getting 60-Plus LGBTQ Films From Outfest (Variety)

April 23, 2018

From Variety,

Amazon’s Prime Video is now streaming 58 official-selection feature films from Outfest LGBTQ film festivals — with six more coming soon — available to Prime members at no additional cost.

The films were published to Prime Video directly by filmmakers or rights holders through Amazon’s Prime Video Direct self-publishing program, which lets content owners earn royalties based on customer viewing time.

The titles include: comedy “G.B.F.” (pictured above), the 2013 Outfest Los Angeles closing night film; “A Sinner In Mecca,” winner of the 2015 Outfest Grand Jury Award for documentary; “Open,” the first American film to win the Teddy jury prize at the Berlin Film Festival; drama “The Gymnast,” winner of 2006 Outfest Grand Jury Award for American narrative feature; comedy “Women Who Kill,” nominated for Film Independent’s 2018 best first screenplay; documentaries “Major!” and “Political Animals”; and cross-cultural/multigenerational dramedy “Baby Steps.”

“These are challenging times for many and reports of violence against LGBTQ citizens are on the rise,” said Christopher Racster, executive director of Outfest. “I still believe, though, in the power of our stories to change that narrative… It is a relationship like this with Prime Video Direct that will carry our stories across the widest network and reach the most individuals.”

Reel Charlie’s looking forward to Ingrid Jungermann’s Women Who Kill.
Read the full article on Variety.


Crooked House

April 10, 2018

Over the course of two days, I managed to watch the new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Crooked House. Two days and managed doesn’t sound like much of a ringing endorsement. Fun cast including Max Irons, Stefanie Martini, Glenn Close, Honor Kneafsey, Christina Hendricks, Terence Stamp, Julian Sands, and Gillian Anderson. Jullian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) co-adapted the screenplay. Beautiful locations and interiors and it’s Christie so how bad can it be? Flat is more like it. Crooked House has all the elements in place. Why does that happen in film and television where everything’s there to make it great and yet it falls short? It has to be either the direction, the editing, or both. Crooked House simply wasn’t delicious. 2 out of 5. Next.


April 1, 2018

I watched the four-part British police procedural, Collateral on Netflix this past week. Lots to love about this series: tight editing, great use sound mixing (music), outstanding cast featuring Cary Mulligan, Nicola Walker, Jeany Spark, Billie Piper, and John Simm. Interesting choice of very human stories to focus on such as a MP caught up in a dysfunctional relationship with the mother of his daughter, a lesbian priest in love with a Vietnamese immigrant in the country illegally, two Syrian refugee sisters, and a female army captain with her own bag of dysfunction. Lots of great female roles. Collateral should have been off the charts good, but the stories never meshed for me. Certainly the theme of Britain and immigration thread through the four episodes well. But the disparate plotlines never quite came together for me. Too bad, because the acting was subtle and sophisticated. Nicola Walker (MI-5) is hands-down one of my favorite British actors. 3 out of 5.

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