Happy Valley, A Netflix Original 2014

S. Lancaster as C. Cawood/image: mediatel.co.uk
S. Lancaster as C. Cawood/image: mediatel.co.uk

Happy Valley is anything but happy, so don’t let the name fool you. BBC TV is really kind of AMAZING. And in this crime drama on Netflix streaming you really have to try to pull yourself away from watching the series in one night. I however didn’t attempt to pull myself away and watched it all in one night, as this is also a series you have to stay with from episode 1 to 6. Also, SUBTITLES VERY NECESSARY, because although it’s in English, it’s British Yorkshire English!

The Premise…

Catherine Cawood, Sarah Lancashire , is a police Sargent and very good and focused at her job. Right away you realize why she’s the Sargent, as she seems fearless in the opening scenes of catching criminals and doing it on foot most of the time. But as the story unfolds you find she does have fears and is very vulnerable both emotionally, and physically. However, her physical limitations because of age, are far less debilitating than her emotional scars due to serious family trials of life.

Sarah’s acting style is reminiscent of Brendan Gleeson, and very naturally portrayed. As she goes through her day on the job, you notice everything in the story is tightly graphed together with perfection. And all the actors are exceptional at conveying the human contradictions in their personalities as well as the caring for one another that some seem to have, most specifically portrayed by Catherine’s loyal sister, Claire, Siobhan Finneran. With its six episodes, what resonates, is a realistic look at British police work as told through a strong female character in the countryside of England, unlike many US TV dramas, that serve the same old telling of a crime story that seems trite and repetitive. As it’s also nice when the same main theme runs through each episode with lot’s of new little themes sprinkled throughout the main theme, to give each episode its own flare. 

The Sum Up…

J. Norton as T.L. Royce/image: bbc.co.uk
J. Norton as T.L. Royce/image: bbc.co.uk

With the protagonist, and antagonist, constantly dueling in each episode, even if not directly all the time keeps the drama at a high pitch. Also, since not mentioning anything about the antagonist, until now, Tommy Lee Royce, James Norton, is a very interesting character with very little dialog most of the way through the episodes, which keeps you emotionally invested in not knowing what he’s all about. So this mini series as it would be called in the states, get’s an A for it’s extremely good writing style, Sally Wainwright and directing, Euros LynTim Fywell, and Sally Wainwright. With its beautiful cinematography, and nice soundtrack, this series was very well thought out with lot’s of walking scenes. There is also a Safety Alert, with language and graphic scenes of violence. Also, something to note, British TV is not censored like US TV or maybe I should say like the three main US networks, which means you see and hear a lot of things you wouldn’t on ABC, NBC, and CBS crime dramas.

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