Grand Hotel lasted something like 42 episodes), what a surprise and joy to come upon a real mini-series of six hour-long episodes that provide something very much like what sitting down to read a good novel entails. Here are rich characterizations, a driving plot fueled by several smart strands and a roster of real characters, with performances that rise to this very high occasion. HAPPY VALLEY is the name of the series, as well as the town in which it takes place.
Sally Wainwright (shown at right), Happy Valley, because it is a kind of police procedural -- the main character is a police sergeant named Catherine Cawood, played in award-winning style by Sarah Lancashire, shown on poster, above, and in the shot below -- you will of course want to take that title with a bushel of irony. The beauty of this series is that so many things in it work both ways.
Broadchurch (now running here in the USA in its remake format of Gracepoint) because its characters are much more real, the plotting is tighter, and the the writing is not crammed full of characters and events too quirky for their own (and the series') good. Ms Wainwright probes depths in Happy Valley -- of event and character -- unheard of in Broadchurch, which relied to often on cliche and shorthand to develop its people and plot.
James Norton, above, left, with the also excellent Adam Long), even he manages to move us, surprisingly at times.
Netflix exclusive, now. It is absolutely not to be missed.