The final installment in the wrap-up of 2020 TV series.
Pros and Cons
The first TV series to recommend this month is the Danish series Pros and Cons. Think: Breaking Bad meets The Americans. The story revolves around a married couple, Erik and Nina, one-time con artists, who have given the game away to live a quiet life in the Danish Burbs. But this is no Hygge life of balance and relaxation.
Having squandered their ill gotten proceeds, they’re short on money and long on marital discontent when their partner in crime from their old life offers them an opportunity they can’t pass on. What ensues is one final, and very large, con, which should get them out of their financial hole, reinvigorate their marriage and allow them to afford iPads for all the family. There are lots of surprising twists and turns as they try to pull off the scam.
There’s a bit of dark humour in this series, plenty of surprises and high tension as they try to get away with the money and get back to pick the kids up from school on time.
It was announced this year that a second series has been commissioned, so the scam con-tines.
The Broad came across Enlightened some years ago on Pay TV and recently noticed it has come to the attention of Guardian writer Brigid Delaney. It’s available in Australia on the Binge streaming platform. The series ran over just two seasons before it was cancelled and features Laura Dern as a wronged woman attempting to fit back into life and work after a breakdown forces her to reassess everything at a retreat.
I Hate Suzie
TV star Suzie Pickles has her phone hacked and intimate photos of her with a man are leaked to the world in I Hate Suzie. While the compromising photos might threaten to dent her image, it’s the discovery that the man in the photo isn’t her husband that push a public embarrassment into a full-blown PR crisis. Written and starring Billie Piper, this series explores monogamy, infidelity, female friendship in the modern context.
The new season of Fargo has arrived, the fourth installment in the TV spin-off of the iconic 1996 Cohen brothers movie. The black comedy crime series is loosely related to the film, and there’s a sprinkling of nods to the original film in each series, although the stories are all quite distinct. Each series takes place in a different time period, with a new story and different characters. This series is set in Kansas City in 1950 and features a Black teenager named Ethelrida and a story about the Irish challenged by a Black gang in the fight for dominance in the city.
Chan & Dee’s Drink Tank
The Broad brought your attention to this indie series by Broad friend, Louise McCabe, who, together with a group of Australian actresses, has created Chan & Dee’s Drink Tank. Now the full web series launches on YouTube in November. After being run over at a zebra crossing, divorcees Chanel and Dior realise an awful truth -.they are invisible. Being 50, female and fucked off, they decide to create their own TV chat show. But when Chan loses her co-host after the first episode, she is forced to call in favours from her old Kinkytoppers school friends who, as luck would have it, are all keen to be her new Dee.
The Salisbury Poisonings
In 2018, a father and daughter were found slumped on a park bench in the English city of Salisbury, later discovered to be poisoned by the deadly Russian nerve agent Novichok. Sergei Skripal was a former Russian military officer and a double agent with the UK’s intelligence services, and the UK quickly accused the Russians of carrying out the act. This four-part BBC series reveals the impact of this event on the police, the Skripal’s friends and the public health officials who are charged with investigating and preventing an all-out crisis. It’s a tense drama that shows the human impact of this single event, and at a time of this current pandemic, it foreshadows the complications of managing large-scale public health crises with both economic and political implications. And it would seem the Russian drug of choice is still Novichok, with reports the Russian opposition leader, who is recovering in Germany after being poisoned recently, was also struck down by Novichok.
Introspective relationship dramas where the characters continually question their choices and beliefs and struggle through their own self-limiting life choices are a particular sub-genre. You either love them or you don’t. In this one, grey, wet London is the backdrop as Leila, a lesbian in a decade-long relationship, becomes single and tests out what it would be like to go out with men, hence the title. It’s got a touch of the Fleabag about it, without the wit but minus the self-consciousness. And a host of supporting characters playing out their own existential love dramas. And there’s truth and honesty in their quest for happiness and self-understanding.
Late coming to this Canadian-English science fiction drama, The Broad and Mr Broad are half-way through the first season of Orphan Black (Stan), a story about clones that is part Handmaid’s Tale and part Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World. Hopefully the story will develop and can sustain five seasons with the same tense drama and intrigue about a dystopian near future. In this New Yorker article, Harvard historian and writer Jill Lepore examines the science and how it’s informed some of the science fiction in this series.
Why Women Kill
A sharp dramedy about three married women (played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu and Kirby Howell-Baptiste) inhabiting the same house across three different eras, the 60s, mid 80s and late 2010s, Why Women Kill is a dark and sometimes sombre examination of the dynamics of marriage, infidelity and acceptance. In this series (SBS), from the creator of Desperate Housewives, murder means never having to say you’re sorry, but marriage means saying sorry and still winding up in trouble. The Broad loved this series for the way it explores the changing freedoms and dynamics in marriage for women and men with a huge amount of heart and humour.