The fall approaches, on little cat feet, so this is an excellent time to clear out the DVR, either by catching up or letting go (who's been recording all these
If that's not enough, here are a few things to watch in "real" time:
"Happy Valley" -- I'm a bit late to the "Happy Valley" party, so I'll make up for it with over-the-top enthusiasm. This British cop drama is simply amazing, thrilling, touching, insightful and not just because Sarah Lancashire stars, although that is undeniably a huge part.
She plays Catherine Cawod, a police sergeant in Yorkshire still haunted by her daughter's suicide years earlier. Now divorced, Catherine is putting her life together with the help of her sister Clare (the equally wonderful
Meanwhile a "Fargo" (the movie)-like story line unfolds with a put-upon employee plotting the kidnapping of his boss' daughter. When news that the man Catherine believes led to her daughter's death has been released from prison, she becomes obsessed with bringing him to justice, and eventually the two crimes, old and new, overlap with tense and tragic results.
But "Happy Valley" is much more than a crime thriller. Sally Wainwright, my new favorite television writer, who also recently gave us the wise and romantic "Last Tango in Halifax" (with which "Happy Valley" shares the Yorkshire location) refuses to go for cheap theatrics or by-the-book drama. As in "Halifax," all the characters of "Happy Valley" are messy, multifaceted and heartbreakingly human. With her astonishing ability to blend steeliness with vulnerability, insight with emotional blindness, Lancashire helps create one of the most memorable breakthrough cops since
Instead, Jax spends the first hour grimly setting up an aging war power play that involves but is in no way limited to avenging Tara's death. Although all signs point to a fatalistic vision of annihilation over redemption, it's early days and one hopes Jax and some of the gang can find some measure of heroism before their story ends.
The appearance of
"The Honorable Woman"
-- It is not too late to catch up with this stunning exploration of conflict, both in the Middle East and within each of the well-drawn characters.
The child of a Holocaust survivor turned pro-Israeli arms manufacturer, Nessa Stein (