SHREVEPORT – I’m bouncing off John Ruberry’s post this week; he reviewed the Netflix Longmire series and so I’m going to share my favorite series: Detectorists, which is a charming, funny, and beautifully written British series by Mackenzie Crook. Let me stress the “beautifully written” part.
Oh, and the photography – breathtaking.
The show centers on characters Andy (Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones). The two friends are metal detectorist hobbyists; the show is filmed in Suffolk and it’s always beautiful and golden. The landscapes are stunning and the macro shots of bees or butterflies are breathtaking. The ear-worm theme song by Johnny Flynn is perfection. The series is sensory appealing in every possible way but the writing is what sells it.
The writing is smart British humor, not slapstick Monty Python humor (as gold as that is…). Crook does the writing and he has a clear picture of his overall story arc. Originally he planned for only two seasons but after the second series ended, he began to miss his “friends” Lance and Andy as well as their quirky friends in the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (DMCD), and he began to feel like he needed to have his characters put down roots and get settled, so he came back for a final third season.
Fans were elated.
Another joy of the writing is the host of charming characters that come from it. The supporting characters of the DMDC and beyond are all quietly eccentric and really develop across the two series into a lovely group of oddballs. I particularly love Hugh (Divian Ladwa) and Russell’s (Pearce Quigley) joint mission in series 2 and basically any time Simon and Garfunkel (Paul Casar and the ever-brilliant Simon Farnaby) are on screen it’s comedy gold.
Rachael Stirling is really lovely as Andy’s wife Becky. She could so easily have become the nagging girlfriend sitcom staple but her relationship with Andy is so well drawn she never does. The show never claims that its characters are perfect so on the occasions where Becky does get frustrated with Andy it feels totally justified.
At the core of the show are two brilliant performances from Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones. As good as everyone else is they are absolutely the glue that binds the show together. The two play their chit-chat and occasional neuroses with absolute honesty; they bounce off each other so naturally that their relationship comes across as unfailingly genuine. Mackenzie Crook has a pedigree in comedy but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as good as he is here.
Season 3 is running in Britain now and will be in America after the first of the year. Unable to wait, I found the first episode online and watched it and will admit that at the end of the thirty-minute episode I gasped with love and anticipation for what is to come. It was simply beautiful.
Check it out. It’s just lovely.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.