TV Detour – Interesting Shows, Quick Distraction

In the last few weeks, I resolved to get back in touch with my TV though our relationship has been on edge for the past year or thereabouts. Tired of all the negativity through news and political discourse over the last few years, I could not muster the energy to find something interesting to watch. When I last looked, the content offered could have been better. So, recently I gave it another chance and was intrigued and pleasantly surprised when I ran across a few TV shows and movies that sparked my interest. They are not for me if they do not pique my attention within the first few minutes – these did. Oddly, they are not my usual go-to, yet I eagerly watched them through.

The first show I binge-watched was on Netflix, “Woman of the Dead” (Totenfrau); released in 2022, it is in German (with English subtitles). I thoroughly enjoyed it. Award-winning actress Anna Maria Mühe commands respect with her performance. She plays Brunhilde Blum, a wife, mother, and owner of a funeral home in a small Austrian town. Her husband, Mark, is a police officer. One morning, as she waves him off to work, Mark gets killed by a hit-and-run driver. When his police colleagues cannot find the responsible party and drag their feet, Blum decides to investigate his death on her own. What she discovers is appalling and bizarre. Blum takes matters into her own hands, finding answers bit by bit and ultimately exacting revenge. It is not an easy show, yet the excellent screenwriting and fast pace kept me glued to the screen. Highly recommend it for lovers of dark thrillers.

The second show I started watching (it is ongoing, with a new episode every Friday) is “Deadloch,” currently streaming on Amazon Prime. It is an eight-episode series featuring the fictional sleepy seaside hamlet of Deadloch in Tasmania, preparing for the Winter Festival. When the body of a dead man appears, the residents are left reeling. Starring the talented and award-winning Kate Box as detective Dulcie Collins (probably best known for her role as Lou in the prison drama “Wentworth” – which I loved), “Deadloch” sees bodies piling up rapidly without rhyme or reason. It is a Nordic noir comedy with moments of utter brilliance that does not fail to entertain – provided one can get past the excessive amount of colorful vernacular. A self-described “funny Broadchurch,” it is worth watching with a mind set to intelligent and irreverent fun while dealing with anything but fun.

One of the movies I watched with many a moment of dread and respect for the conditions depicted is “All Quiet on the Western Front,” again a film in German. Released in 2022 (I seem to be late, but not worried about it), it is an epic anti-war movie that spares no gore and is as caustic as it needs to be. I had read the novel, with the same title, by Erich Maria Remarque when I was a teenager as it was “required reading.” The movie deviates significantly from the novel, as often happens in such cases. Though not apparent to those who have not read the book, it comes across as a bit shallow despite the mostly accurate fight scenes. That said, it is a movie that shakes to the core and invites us to pause and reflect on what war looks like.

I will catch up on and rewatch “Black Mirror” from the start on Netflix as I crochet my next projects. For those unfamiliar, it is a British anthology television series in which individual episodes explore a diversity of genres while exploring current social issues. Inspired by “The Twilight Zone,” it is probably one of the best TV series of the last decade. Some episodes are a bit run-of-the-mill, but it is an outstanding TV series. I have not yet found another movie besides “All Quiet on the Western Front” that has caught and kept my attention quite the same way. And no, though on the darker side of television, that is not all I watch. I still peek at cooking and baking shows and enjoy documentaries that make me think. I consider TV background noise mostly unnecessary but companionable when picking the right mood and vibe.