For What It's Worth

Friday, December 19, 2014

I’m watching: Happy Valley




Happy Valley - Netflix

Summary:

Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) is a strong-willed police sergeant in the Yorkshire valleys, still coming to terms with her daughter's suicide. Just as she seems to be getting back on top of her life, she spots Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the man she believes is responsible for the brutal rape that drove her daughter to suicide, standing on a street in her town. She soon becomes obsessed with finding Royce, unaware that he is involved in the kidnapping of Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy), a plot instigated by Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) and orchestrated by Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong). Things quickly take a dark turn as the abductors scramble to keep the kidnapping secret, although Catherine is on to them. (Source: Wikipedia)

Drama/Crime/Thriller

Why I'm watching:

I actually binge watched this a few months ago. I love British television. I think, with a few rare exceptions, that they get it right when it comes to authentic characters and story telling. This BBC/Netflix collaboration is no exception. I don't think Happy Valley would never be made this way on American television. We tend to *Hollywood* everything up with young, beautiful actors and the violence/sex is either glamorized or used as plot device to give the hero something to do.

The main character here is a flawed 40-ish grandmother and police Sargent. The subject matters are dark and intense but never fetishizes the violence or veers into torture porn. There’s a solid, layered story and everyone has depth and complexity. No-one is a mere villain or victim. Women in particular are developed exceptionally well in this series.

It’s good stuff if you can handle darker fare. It's a bit like Fargo. It follows working class town with secrets and slightly fumbling (yet still very dangerous) villains that allow for some dark humor. But this is no comedy.

There are 6 episodes total and this particular case is closed by the end, while still leaving room for the series to continue and it was renewed for a second season.

*Watch it on Netflix.

12 comments:

  1. I think I gave it a go...or not, must check

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    1. I'm not sure if you would like this. I think you mentioned that you didn't like dramas before. It's more of a thriller/crime show though.

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  2. I can't stand British TV, but then again my only experience with it is Coronation Street, and that's because my parents used to watch it ALL the time.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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    1. I had to look that one up. lol This is nothing like that! Have you seen Being Human (BBC version)/Orphan Black? Those are both BBC shows.

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  3. I don't enjoy British comedies, but I really like their more serious shows (Luther, Orphan Black), because like you said, it's not as glamorous. I've realized that other countries aren't afraid to get gritty in their crime dramas.

    There's a French crime drama that's on Netflix that's supposedly really popular: Spiral.

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    1. Me either. The humor goes right over my head. I haven't heard of Spiral. I'll have to look that up. And I still need to see Luther. My husband watched it and loved it.

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  4. I'm with you, I scour Netflix for more BBC shows, right now I'm watching Last Tango in Halifax & Broadchurch alternately. I'll check this out next, thanks for the rec, Karen!

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    1. I started watching Broadchurch when it was on BBCA but stopped about halfway for some reason. I don't even remember why lol

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  5. I used to watch BBC shows a lot when we first got it, but for some reason I haven't been watching them at all now. Hm... I might have to give this one a go.

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  6. I'm so behind on watching shows on Netflix, I should get started though.

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  7. Oh this sounds like my kind of show :) I will try and find a way to watch this one .

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  8. Sounds really good. I do love British television. I think they do characters well, like you said.

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