Friday, April 26, 2013

TV Anorak: An American Intro To British TV-The W's

1. British: A person obsessively interested in a thing or topic that doesn't seem to warrant such attention.

This series of Challenge posts is an introduction to British TV shows for my fellow Americans. For instructions on how to play different region-coded DVD's, please go either here or here to read my previous blog posts that should clear up any confusion. Next up:

Another biggie, but the last of the biggies, so that might be some consolation! This is a series of mostly dark dramas...wallowing "W's" some might say!

Waking The Dead
There are nine series of this show starring Trevor Eve about a cold case squad. It's a very dark view of murder and there is quite a dark feel throughout the entire cast. It is one of, if not my favorite police dramas (have I said that before?) and I really miss new episodes of it. I got into it about series 4, so I've been with it a while. Waking The Dead starts to change cast members after the first couple of series and never stops. But they did have a final episode, so no cliffhanger (and The Body Farm, see my "B" post, is a spin off of it).

Wild At Heart
This is a new series for me, which I only got because Stephen Tompkinson was in it, but I absolutely loved it! I managed to watch all 8 series in less than a week simply because I couldn't turn it off. I have seen African dramas before and some of the shows I watch have made episodic treks to South Africa upon occasion (aka Silent Witness), but I have to admit, I'm not a fan of them per-se. They tend to deal more with the racial issues than just the characters or stories, but Wild at Heart is the exception. Tompkinson plays a Bristol vet who takes his family along to Africa to release an animal back into the wild. The family decide to stay and open a wildlife refuge. After the first couple of series, tragedy strikes (I'm not giving it away), so prepare yourself. I'm also not a fan of the "family show", which this definitely is (more snogging would have been nice), but I really loved every single moment of this show.

Wire In The Blood
Robson Green plays a psychologist who helps the police solve crimes by getting into the mind of the killer. He has a lot of trouble separating himself once the case is over and each case affects him more and more. This is possibly the darkest drama I have in my collection, but I really loved every minute of it because Robson's character was obviously an Asperger like me. I also probably wouldn't watch it with kids around simply because of how dark it is.

Rupert Penry-Jones. I could just stop there! He is second only to Richard Armitage in my book! This three series arch might throw the average viewer into a tailspin, each series has the "feel" of a different time period. The first series deals with a Ripper copycat in modern day Whitechapel (with an 1890's feel), the second with a Kray brothers copycat (with a very 1960's feel), and the third more modern with just murders in general. Most every American is familiar with Jack the Ripper, but not a lot of people know about the Krays (and I only do because Gary and Martin Kemp, from the 80's band Spandau Ballet, were in a movie aptly called, The Krays). The Krays were twin brothers who were the most notorious mobsters in England's Whitechapel (or all of England for that matter) in the 1960's. They made Al Capone look like a total wuss! They didn't use hitmen, they took care of the wetworks themselves, often quite brutally. That's what makes this show so interesting...Whitechapel is famous for more than just the Ripper murders and it's nice to see it's other nefarious critters getting their due!

William And Mary
Another Martin Clunes show, William and Mary is the story of an undertaker with two daughters who meets and falls in love with Julie Graham, a midwife with two sons. It's a drama, but really sweet as well. The oldest daughter and the oldest son get involved, Mary ends up getting pregnant, the ex-husband of Mary comes back on the scene and tries to get his family back, William has to deal with his business competition and keeping everything running to support his newly expanded family, all the while trying to keep everybody together. Look for a very young (and very bad) Michael Fassbender in one episode!

Honorable Mention:
I might be the only person on the planet, but I am not a Kenneth Branagh fan. Having said that, most of his movies I do like. Wallander is a remake of a Swedish show about a Swedish detective solving crimes in the Swedish countryside (you knew I was gonna say Swedish one more time, didn't you?) and dealing with his personal problems (which are quite numerous). This is another very dark series because Wallander gets very personal with the people in each episode, both the victims and the killers, on top of dealing with divorce, a daughter he doesn't have time for, girlfriends he can't keep, a father with Alzheimer's, and his own alcholism...this dude has got problems! There are three series so far.

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