As the summer winds down the last few shows the I watch ended and as I wait for fall TV to start up later this month, here are some thoughts.
Broadchurch (BBC America)
Broadchurch had a brilliant first year, a not so great Season 2 and a good third and final season which just finished. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the finale given that the rapist in this season’s crime turned out not to be one of the several suspects the show had been focused on all season. After all the red herrings in practically every episode, to introduce basically a new suspect as the perpetrator at the end was cheap even though one of the suspects was involved. Nonetheless, the finale overall was satisfying and wrapped up many of the plotlines that had developed over all three seasons.
Alec and “Milla” successfully solved their latest case; The Latimer family had some cause for hope although Mark is still very broken. Alec’s relationship with his daughter got stronger but he passed on a more personal relationship with Ellie. The Reverend is moving on as is Trish (the rape victim) and her family; The local town newspaper woman who was fired for being ethical is going to be a blogger in a closure that I loved. I’m going to miss this small town but more than anything, the activing of David Tennant as Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller (“Milla”) and this year’s victim Julie Hesmondhalgh who played Trish Winterman so well. Jodi Whittaker is very good and I was happy the writers found an interesting way to keep her involved in the plot this season. I may just try Dr. Who to see her as the first female Doctor in that series. The final words of the show (“See you tomorrow Milla”) were perfect as were the fading pictures of the cliffs which so defined the town and its story.
Despite the dip in Season 2, Broadchurch is a very good show which should delight anyone who enjoys British murder mysteries. It will be missed by many.
Orphan Black (BBC America)
Orphan Black ended its five-year run with a satisfying finale in which our clone “Sestas” got their happy endings. I loved the first two years of this show and then I spent the next two having no idea what was going on. Tatiana Maslany’s acting was so fantastic, however, that I couldn’t stop watching. Each character she portrayed was as if an entirely different actress was playing the role. She is just riveting on screen no matter what kind of crazy wig was worn. In addition, the primary clones (Allison, Sarah, Cosima and Helena) completely engaged the viewer in their respective stories. The supporting cast while small was quite good including Jordan Gavaris as Felix, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan, Kristian Bruun as Donnie and Kevin Hanchart as Art.
I never understood the whole male clone storyline nor exactly what the evil “Neolution” organization was. It was hard to follow the ins and outs of who was in it and who wasn’t but in the end, that didn’t matter as it was all about the “Sestas” and having them finally finding some happiness in life. So, goodbye Orphan Black. You brought joy to my heart for at least a couple of years and I’m going to miss Tatiana Maslany playing all of these fascinating characters.
Nashville is an evening soap opera so why do I keep watching it? I don’t generally care for country music although the music on this show often draws me in; I don’t care for several the characters, particularly now that Connie Britton has departed and in fact, I actively dislike several of them (Scarlett, Maddie and Daphne); The plotlines are often goofy and predictable so what is left? There are characters I do generally care about. Charles Esten as Deacon and the frat boys (Jonathan Jackson as Avery, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Chris Carmack as Will) are great. Hayden Panattiere is very good despite suspect writing for her character and her relationship with Avery is compelling (unlike Gunnar and Scarlett).
Nashville completed its spring “half” season – the first without Rayna Jaymes. With the loss of such a critical character, it struggled to find its footing. There were new character introductions which didn’t particularly work; The increased importance of Maddie and Daphne was tough to take – particularly the storyline of Daphne and the homeless girl. These young actors are not good enough to have such plot lines revolve around them. Gunnar and Scarlett just need to implode so we never have to watch them break up, get together, break-up, and kind of get together again before breaking up. Enough is enough. Will’s storyline seemed to just float in the wind and Zach’s storyline never resonated with me. So, again, I get back to what I liked; Deacon dealing with grief; Juliette and Avery (not Juliette and the gospel singers), Will, Avery and Gunner’s “Three Men and a Baby life” and some pretty good music here and there to keep me going. I don’t know that when Nashville reappears again next season competing against many more TV shows that I’ll have time to watch it but it is ok summer fare.