We’ve had some heavyweight crime offerings this year – Broadchurch, Twin Peaks, Fargo et al – but perhaps the most eagerly awaited returning crime drama in this house is Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake, now subtitled China Girl for its second series. Series one was just utterly wonderful – a dream-like procedural the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Elisabeth Moss (who’s been doing some tremendous work recently) returns as Robin Griffin, the Australian detective, who has now returned to her home city, where the body of an Asian sex worker is waiting for her. Judging by this series opener, it’s great to have it back.
Up until now, we’ve had more or less a bit of everything in this series – the sublime (a lot of that), some unevenness and a bit of the ridiculous. With the end fast approaching there’s a lot to be tied up, but this penultimate episode felt melancholy and reflective in mood and tone; the narrative pyrotechnics that have exploded regularly throughout dialled back to focus on characters and their interactions. Characters were circling and taking stock, trying to understand their place in this world and what it all means. As Gloria Burgle ruminated: “You think the world means something, and then it means something else.”
You get the sense that the BBC is testing the water a bit with In The Dark, the four-part series that adapts two of Mark Billingham’s crime novels. MyAnna Buring was excellent as DI Helen Weeks in the first two-part story, and I do wonder if Weeks could form the basis for a new longish-running series featuring a new female protagonist. It’s an option for sure, and in the first two episodes, Weeks (and Buring) revealed herself to be a flawed, no-nonsense detective with likeable traits.
NB: Spoilers inside
In part 11, we were back in Twin Peaks for perhaps longer than we have been in a while. In fact, we seem to be spending more time in the town as each episode goes by, which suggests that all scattered characters and identities will eventually make their way back somehow and there will be some sort of denouement in the town at some point. Although let’s face it, trying to predict anything in this series is such a futile exercise. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again, every time you think you know what might happen does the rug is well and truly pulled beneath you. And this is one of the reasons why it’s so watchable: you tune in desperate to see Good Coop emerge from his catatonic Dougie Jones state only to see teases of his old self.
So Ripper Street comes to a final conclusion, after five series of mystery, suspense, gore, thrills, brilliant performances, sparkling dialogue and riveting detail. Can all the loose ends be tied up, accounts settled and character arcs be resolved?
Saying Elisabeth Moss is doing good work at the moment is like saying chocolate is only quite nice. Since mad Men, Moss has starred in series one of Top The Lake – Jane Campion’s dream-like New Zealand-set crime drama – and, more recently, the astonishing and harrowing The Handmaid’s Tale. Now she’s back for series two of Top Of The Lake, subtitled China Girl, and it’s another fantastic piece of work. It starts this week, and we managed to get hold of an interview with Moss, which you can read after the jump.
One of the more anticipated dramas of the year is series two of Stranger Things. The horror/crime mash-up was a word-of-mouth megahit last year and the PR wheels have been turning for a month or so now. This weekend saw Comic-Con in San Diego produce all kinds of bits and pieces, but one of the things people were raving about was a full, proper trailer. You can see it after the jump…