We have been streaming a hefty dose of British TV on Netflix. It’s wonderful because you can watch these shows with subtitles now which is crucial for Midwestern American ears. Those accents are pretty nasty on our comprehension. So far we have burned through Broadchurch (out-fucking-standing), Black Mirror (brilliant at first but then formulaic), Hinterlands (gorgeous and angsty), and now we’re on season three of Wallander (brilliant, gorgeous, and angsty). It is very strange watching Tom Hiddleston pre-Loki. For one thing, there’s that hair. The voice is the same of course but without the Shakespearean heft he brings to the Asgardian. And of course, he’s not burdened with glorious purpose.
The level of quality on these shows is extraordinary. I suspect that there is plenty of junk on UK TV but this stuff is so good, so addictive. It is a relief to not have to deal with the cliches that rid American shows: the neat happy endings, the strained humor, the over-dependence of solving everything with guns and, in Wallander’s case, a realistic treatment of the aftermath of a justified shooting. I wish there were more episodes of all of these but we’ll be patient, waiting for the next seasons of Broadchurch and Wallander to appear. Until then I guess there is always…Doc Martin.