Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thanks, Netflix!!

I'm not a television guy. Generally speaking I would rather read. But things are changing here at Casa Dunnevant with the arrival of the single greatest advancement in home entertainment since the piano...Netflix.

Now that the nest is empty and Pam and I don't have the weighty responsibility of parenthood draped over our shoulders, we have been freed to eat our dinner in the den while watching a series of wonderful television shows, all of which come to us courtesy of Netflix and the Bristish Empire. There are no insufferable commercials, and if we wish to watch a second episode we just press play. The fact that most of our favorite shows come from Great Britain is a curiosity. Although American television is more slickly produced and the actors much more attractive, they simply cannot compete with the story-telling, acting and intelligence of their British counterparts. Of course, there are exceptions to this broad statement. If you want a riveting chase scene or gun play or scantily clad babes, then American television has no peer. But if you want smart, witty characters with something to say, stories that make you think, and characters to actually care about, check out any of the following:

1. Foyle's War.  Set in a coastal town in southern England at the outbreak of WWII, it's the story of a detective too old for the army who must stay at home solving crimes while his country is fighting for its life. Most of the crimes are related to the war effort, black market theivery and whatnot, but Foyle still feels that he isn't doing his bit. He hires a spunky and adorable girl to be his driver and the
relationship  that developes between the two is amazingly sweet without anything approaching trite or clich├ęd. But it's Foyle himself who carries the show. Soft spoken and older man handsome, his keen and curious mind is fascinating to watch. He doesn't actually say much which adds to his appeal. We watched all eight seasons and every climatic arrest scene was pulled off without the brandishing of even one weapon.

2. Downton Abbey.  Enough has been said by me about this wonderful drama. Lush, beautiful to look at, the show is simply chocked full of characters that you will care deeply about.

3. Doc Martin.  Another seaside location in Cornwall provides the setting for this comedy without a laugh track. It's the story about a gifted London surgeon who developes a phobia at the sight of blood and must give up the knife and become a general practitioner in the mythical village of Portwen.
Although the good doctor is medically gifted, he has truly horrible people skills and lacks the ability
or inclination to tell a convenient or social lie. There's a word for this...RUDE, and he has it in spades. Despite his wretched manner, he finds himself attracted to the lovely school head mistress and watching their relationship blossom is like watching a slow motion train wreck. The lead actor is fortunate to be British because he would never land a lead role in an American series since he is truly and indisputably ugly, almost Shrek-like. Actually it's part of his charm and in a weird way makes
him sympathetic.

4. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. This is a production from Austrailian television about a beautiful heiress in Melbourne during the roaring 20's who becomes that rarest of breeds...a lady detective. This show is where the Great Gatsby meets Amelia Earhart. Phryne Fisher is adorable with her short bob haircut and astonishingly gorgeous clothes, as she proves as equally adept at seduction as she is at brandishing her gold plated pistol or climbing a trellis or speeding along the back roads in her fabulous car. She developes a thing for the local police detective, an incorruptible, by the book sort of
guy who she always seems to be annoying. The stories are wonderful, and the supporting cast all bring their own charms to this delightful production.

Ok, that's enough to get you started. You're welcomed.