The Nest (BBC 2020)

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Now streaming on Acorn TV is The Nest, a five-part British series. You’ll recognize Martin Compston from Line of Duty and struggle to understand his heavy Scottish accent. Rounding out the characters are Sophie Rundle and Mirren Mack.

The story is about a married couple, Emily and Dan Docherty, who are desperate to have a baby.  Emily cannot conceive and after years of trying, they are looking into having a surrogate carry the baby with their dwindling supply of baby-making material.  After a failed attempt with a family member to carry a baby to term, Emily has a chance encounter with an eighteen-year-old girl, Kaya, who agrees to be her next host for the hefty price of 50,000 Pounds. Apparently, in Scotland, it’s against the law to pay surrogates to have a baby, except to cover their basic expenses.  Dan is very skeptical of using a stranger, as he has a long list of requirements, wanting a baby birthed by a decent person.

Of course, Kaya, has a very dark background and a secret that eventually comes to the surface. Dan, the would-be father, is far from perfection himself. Emily needs a good dose of counseling as she is obsessed with having a baby, and pressures and threatens Dan the entire journey as Kaya’s pregnancy transpires.

This is really an odd series. It’s convoluted. Full of plot holes. Side stories that go nowhere and never get fully baked, and questions that don’t get answered. When you should find some satisfaction in the ending, you sort of turn off the television and immediately forget the series.  Perhaps it is the way the story was presented that makes it so odd to me and unsatisfying.  I wasn’t exactly feeling anything of much for the characters. Surprisingly, it has a 93% Tomatometer from 15 critics and a 7.2 rating on IMDb.  I’m not sure why I’m out on the fringe with this one compared to reviews, but it just didn’t float my remote.

Next, please.

Gold Digger (BBC One/Acorn TV 2019 Mini-Series)

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It’s every single woman’s dream at sixty years of age is to meet a handsome man half their age, who falls head-over-heels in love with you. The sex must be great.

Wait!  You say he must have ulterior motives?  What good-looking man would fall in love with a slightly wrinkled, slightly plump woman with three grown children and grandchildren? What could he possibly have in common with her, being twenty-six years younger?  Surely, he must be a gold digger.  Although Julia isn’t that rich, she is comfortable thanks to her recent divorce.  After all, she received the lovely country home.

Naturally, such a scenario doesn’t sit well with three grown children and an ex-husband who quickly judge Benjamin to be unworthy. He had a secret past, lives in a flat about to be evicted, occasionally gets caught in little white lies, and movies into the family home with mum as if he owns the place.

Well, the series leads you to believe that he is a gold digger like everyone concludes that he is.  Although all may not be as it seems, it isn’t until the last episode that you discover his motives.  Is he really a gold digger or a broken man, looking for a substitute mother figure and security?  That’s even creepier, in my books. Be ready for a on-again, off-again, on-again ride.

Staring Jula Ormand as “Julia” and Ben Barnes as “Benjamin,” you wonder why their names weren’t something different in the series. Jemima Rooper (our Lost in Auten gal), Archie Renaux, Sebastian Armesto play the suspicious and angry children, brooding over their mother’s obvious bad decision. The entire dysfunctional family can’t seem to come with terms with Julia’s ex-husband Ted, played by the talented Alex Jennings (who is the most talented in the series), that their father is a wife beater. Although he attempts to come across as a love-crossed reformed man, he eventually shows himself to be true to his own character rather than his new.

The series does tend to drag a bit here and there. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it as suspenseful as I would have liked but it’s also not predictable. From what I’ve read, the fans in the U.K. were a bit miffed the so-called bad boy didn’t turn out bad enough for everyone’s taste.

Well, it’s Acorn TV and British showmanship.  Give it a shot.  I could go for a guy in his mid-30s at my age. But since I’m not wealthy or good-looking enough to attract one to my bed, I’ll just write about it. Of course, if the story were flipped, let’s be honest.  Sixty-year-old man marries a thirty-four-year-old woman?  There isn’t anything wrong with that scenario.

 

Deadwater Fell (Acorn TV 2020)

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Let us binge, let us binge, let us binge. My motto for the pandemic. I have three shows I’m religiously following each week, and this is the first to finish after four weeks. Leave it to the Brits to bring us a mystery.

Well, this one is a bit odd. I had no trouble with the acting, the mystery, but the conclusion was both creepy, a let-down, and slightly predictable — even if you didn’t want to admit it. Nevertheless, it’s an okay watch but not the best British mystery to survive a bag of popcorn.

Dave Tennant plays a dark and moody man, definitely with flaws being over-controlling and showcasing a compulsive obsessive disorder while in private. He is the victim of a tragedy — his wife and three children have died in a house fire, but his neighbor was able to save Tom Kendrick, the center of suspicion from that point onward.

The friendly families with children have their secrets, as well as affairs and questionable trysts. There are multiple flashbacks throughout the four episodes as each character reminisces about occurrences in the past, attempting to make sense of the horrific death of three children.  When the medical examiner tells the police that the wife and children were injected with a needle and died before the fire, the suspicion turns towards the husband, of course.  As the episodes progress and the secrets are revealed, you are made to wonder whether he did it or not. Everything points to him regardless of how many times he insists that he is innocent or washes his hands.

I cannot give this series accolades, but it’s worth the watch for whatever mystery you can squeeze out of it. Tennant does a great job acting the creep you think he is and the show at least has the merit of good acting.

I am also watching Belgravia and Mrs. America with weekly episodes. Actually, I’m enjoying those shows much more.  Stay tuned for reviews to come.

Midsomer Murders Season 21: Premiere Date & Where to Watch It – I Heart British TV

[Inserts squeal]

Great news for Midsomer Murders fans. It’s been a long wait, but the Midsomer Murders Season 21 premiere is now in sight. When […]

Source: Midsomer Murders Season 21: Premiere Date & Where to Watch It – I Heart British TV

Queens of Mystery (Acordn TV 2019)

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Acorn TV has added a new English detective series entitled Queens of Mystery.  It’s a quirky series that takes a bit of getting used to, but if you’re into dead bodies and murder in small English towns this is right up your alley.

Like Midsomer Murders, the local population is dropping like flies.  Only this time, it’s not the priest of Father Brown, the handsome vicar in Grantchester, or high-heeled Agatha Raisin solving the cases.  Meet three-crime writing authors and their niece, a regular detective out to solve the crimes.

The first two episodes revolved around the murder of a crime writer, at a crime writer’s contest convention.  The third and fourth episodes focus on the reunion of a band, and the murders of its members.  I could swear this storyline happened to be one like it in the twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders, although a bit different to fit this new mystery.

The aunts, Beth, Cat, and Jane, are all crime solvers because they are all best-selling authors writing murder mysteries of their own.  They seem to also be connected to these recent murders in one way or the other.  They are great sleuths and cannot pass up the opportunity to investigate.  Maltida Stone is the young detective assigned to her hometown of Wildemarsh, England (another fictitious location).  The young Matilda has an unsolved mystery of her own regarding the identity of her father, which question continues to pop up in the series.

What makes this series different is that it’s narrated, which can be confusing at first. Juliet Stevenson, who narrates the tale while you are watching, adds little tidbits about the past or what the characters are really thinking during the moment.  At times it can be entertaining, but at other moments, a bit distracting.  However, it’s what makes the new series unique.  You may remember Juliet playing the wife of Mr. Elton in the 1996 version of Emma.

So if you love people being stabbed, poisoned, strangled in an English setting, this series is for you.  It’s a good filler while Midsomer Murders is filming their next season. The series introduction is quite unique, as well, and kudos to whoever thought that intro up.

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