Day two of our Top 20!
Yesterday we kicked off our Top 20 Crime Dramas Of The Year, and the high standard of shows from 20 to 16 ably demonstrated what a fine year we’ve had. Today we’re fully on the rollercoaster, counting down from 15 to 11. Scream if you want to go faster!
Everybody’s favourite flics got more personal than ever in this penultimate series of the most incredible French drama from the last decade. Gilou was once again both hero and villain in one character and had a rougher time of it than usual, but not as much as his beau Laure – whose conflict at being a mother felt raw and real, beautifully played by Caroline Proust at the top of her game. While the varying plot strands for this series felt middling at best for the most part, we all really watched Spiral for the developing relationships among the motley crew. Series six delivered that in enjoyable excess. Goodbye TinTin… or is it just adieu?
TO READ ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF SPIRAL CLICK HERE
S4C/BBC One Wales
This was the leader in the clubhouse for quite a while during the first part of 2018. The creators of Hinterland/Y Gwyll were back in business this year with another engrossing, atmospheric potboiler of a procedural that this time showcased the incredible scenery of Snowdonia. Our new Welsh crime hero was DI Cadi John (the excellent Sian Reese-Williams), a stubborn, quiet detective with a likeably normal personality (she drank wine, smoked cigarettes and ate Pot Noodles during her lunch break). What she was up against was terrifying – Dylan Harris, a vulnerable, dangerous man-child abused by his ferocious mother when he was young; and was now meting out terrible abuse of his own to a new batch of vulnerable victims. With young Megan Ruddock (an outstanding Gwyneth Keyworth) kept against her will by Harris (Rhodri Meilir) down on his isolated farmhouse, the clock was ticking to save Megan and put a stop to Harris’s warped modus operandi. A real potboiler, too slow for some, but Craith had depth, tension and that special intimacy and spatial awareness that Mark Andrew and Ed Talfan’s crime dramas always seem to have.
FOR ALL OUR REVIEWS OF CRAITH CLICK HERE
13 The Cry
Helen FitzGerald’s novel of the same name won rave reviews, and, thankfully, this three-part domestic thriller got the adaptation it deserved. Brought to screen by FitzGerald and Jacqueline Perske, it told the story of Joanna (Jenna Coleman, on career-best form), a young woman finding new motherhood extremely tough. We watched as her son’s constant crying gave way to exhaustion, anxiety and a sense of a life wasted; blunting her senses and disorientating her mind. What wasn’t helping was her husband, smooth PR fixer Alistair (Ewen Leslie), who was intent on taking his wife and their baby, Noah, back to Australia to visit his family and try to wrestle custody of his teenage daughter away from his ex-wife. When they got there, disaster happened – baby Noah went missing from the back seat of their car, and a high-profile, trial-by-media hunt was underway. But The Cry was not just about finding baby Noah – it was a supremely well-balanced study of the power dynamics and manipulation within a relationship as well as a taut thriller. In the end, as the real truth unravelled and the twist exploded, Alistair and Jenna’s relationship became as toxic as any House Of Cards or Gone Girl.
FOR OUR REVIEWS OF THE CRY CLICK HERE
FOR OUR PODCAST WITH HELEN FITZGERALD CLICK HERE
12 The Sinner
Series one of Netflix’s The Sinner was almost one of the best series of 2017, only let down by two poor final episodes. So all eyes were on series two of Derek Simmonds’ intriguing anthology series to see if it had ironed out its inconsistencies. The good news is that series two not only carried on the good work but also improved, this time telling the story of Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), returning back to his hometown and embroiling himself in yet another whydunit case – that of a young boy who seemingly killed his parents. As Ambrose – wearing his own hang-ups and idiosyncrasies like a heavy overcoat – looked deeper into the case, he was drawn to a local commune and its charismatic, fierce leader, Vera Walker (played by an outstanding Carrie Coon). As they led a merry dance of lies and counter-lies, the chemistry between the two characters fairly crackled onscreen and drove this series to new heights.
FOR OUR REVIEW OF THE SINNER CLICK HERE
Amazon Prime staked its claim as a true powerhouse of intelligent television this year, and Homecoming was the jewel in its crown. Not only did the show bag a Hollywood A-Lister debut in Julia Roberts, it also captured the talents of Sam Esmail in the director’s chair. The combination was a taut thriller that played on our understanding of morality and duty with some truly bravura performances and direction. Visually, the show shone bright but it was the script that really astounded – economical and rich in equal measures. Homecoming saw Amazon finally reach the big league aside HBO and Sundance for modern and mature entertainment.
TO READ OUR REVIEW OF HOMECOMING CLICK HERE
FOR PART ONE OF OUR TOP 20 – 20-16 CLICK HERE