Just a few shows finishing up and beginning as we wind down the fall season and wait for things to start back up in January.
The Durrells in Corfu (PBS)
The Durrells in Corfu ended it’s first season with Louisa realizing her finance Swen is gay and instead of having a wedding, chose to have all of their friends just come anyway and party away. This season saw the family survive their move to Corfu encamped in a house with no electricity and thousands of miles away from friends and family. Corfu is a light series that was fun to watch for 6 weeks amidst the craziness of the Presidential campaign. The scenery is stunning and the family interesting enough to keep coming back each week. I’ll definitely check in with them next year assuming the show returns.
The Affair (Showtime)
Let’s just say I was not enthralled with this season’s premier of the Affair. The entire hour was about Noah (Dominic West) with a couple of brief interactions with Helen (Maura Tierney). No Joshua Jackson, and no Ruth Wilson although a new love interest (Juliette) for Noah was introduced played by Irene Jacob. Noah is the most despised character in this series and having to watch him for an hour was tough. His story takes place 3 years after the he was convicted of manslaughter in last season’s finale. He has completed his prison sentence, moved in with his sister and is teaching a course at a N.J. university.
Noah is clearly estranged from Alison and although Helen attempts to reconcile with him, he isn’t interested. His oldest son ignores him and Noah doesn’t really seem to care. He meets Juliette and she doesn’t seem to pass judgment on him which attracts him to her. There are some very uncomfortable moments with Noah and one of his students that was just creepy and unnecessary. There is also a mysterious character stalking Noah and some flashbacks to some violent moments in prison. All of this should help provide some tension to this season while giving us some good flashbacks.
I’m going to stick with “The Affair” for the time being. I understand next week’s show is a Helen/Alison split which covers what each of them were doing during the time Noah was in prison which is much more interesting to me. Apparently the rest of the shows this season are split between characters, which is good news. Above all, what I really want to know is who Alison’s Baby Daddy is! I would really like the Affair to return to the excellence of the first season but I’d settle for just a better year than last.
The Fall (Netflix)
I completed the third and likely the final season of the Fall on Netflix and it was a satisfactory conclusion to the three-year Belfast Strangler arc. This dark story of misogyny, rape and murder is complex and nuanced. On one hand, it is one of the few shows with violence against women that also focuses on the victims. It is also different from other crime procedurals in that we know the murderer from the beginning and it is the detective played by Gillian Anderson that must find out who is behind the rape and murder of all of these Belfast women.
The final season moved slowly, but with deliberate pace. Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) recovered from his injuries in the Season 2 finale without any memory of the last six years. It is unclear whether he was lying or not, but the memory loss presents legal issues related to his prior confession and whether it will hold up. Despite Spector having been caught, he still presents a threat to anyone around him thus maintaining the fear factor in this psychological thriller.
I’m really tired of the whole violence against women thing as a plot device in so many shows so I have mixed feelings about the Fall. On the plus side, it is very well done and both Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan are excellent. The Spector character never is positioned to elicit any sort of sympathy from the audience which is also good. There are no redeeming or sympathetic aspects of his personality. He is to be hated and feared at all times. Yet there is a lot of violence in the first two seasons and it is a lot to take in.
Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson are great in this show. Dornan’s arc is done but I could see bringing back Anderson as Stella Gibson for another investigation. She is a complex and flawed character and could easily generate storylines for several additional seasons. I recommend this show to those who are interested in seeing a well-done British crime series unless they are not interested in another show focused on violence towards women.