Showing posts with label Drama miniseries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama miniseries. Show all posts

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Stranger, a TV Series

I would like to review a British television series called The Stranger and I can easily do it in one sentence.   Go and watch it right now!

Harlan Coben's The Stranger a Netflix series
The Stranger (British TV Series) - image adapted by Lou16
from a photo on Pixabay.com
Want more than my bossy sentence?   Well I must admit the trailer for this series looked good and certainly peaked mine and my husband's interest, but the series itself totally outshone our expectations.  It is based on a book by American author Harlan Coben and after watching it I am definitely going to start reading some of his books.

The series has a British cast that if you watch many British shows you'll probably be very familiar with.   There were lots of actors that I recognise from different shows that they've popped up on.   The main star of the show is Richard Armitage who as an actor first came to my attention in the British spy series Spooks, although he has a number of other credits to his name.

Another star is actress Siobhan Finneran who has appeared in several British television shows over the years, but I particularly liked her portayal of  a police detective in The Moorside (available through Amazon Prime).   In this show she, again, plays a detective.

I would also like to mention two other stars of the show - Shaun Dooley and Jennifer Saunders.   I will be honest and say that I felt both of these actors were not (in my opinion) on their best game, but the story was strong enough that they didn't need to be better.   As a fan of Shaun Dooley since I watched Married, Single, Other years ago (a great British drama series) I was a little disappointed in his acting.   I've also loved Jennifer Saunders since her French and Saunders days, but I didn't feel that her acting was to the standard of the rest of the cast.

An actor that was amazing was Paul Kaye, I absolutely hated his character, he played it perfectly

This series is what I call bingeworthy.   We started watching it on a Sunday night and were only going to watch one episode - 3 episodes later we had to turn it off as we had work the next day.   The following night we had things on and decided to just watch one episode before bed...we watched two and it was very hard to get up the following morning.

Luckily the third night we had nothing on and the series only has 8 episodes so we managed to finish it!   I recommend watching it when you have 8 hours to spare because you may not want to stop.

The main story line is very interesting as it's about a stranger approaching someone with details of a secret.   What keeps it enthralling is not just wondering about the stranger, but all the intricate little threads that the writers have kept running through it.   The book was adapted by screenwritter Danny Brocklehurst and he has done an amazing job.

The suspense was kept up with all these surprising things happening - as an example at the end of one of the episodes someone walks into their workplace and is greeted by their workmates.   That doesn't sound very cliffhangerish now does it?   However it made my husband and I both sit up as we hadn't anticipated that happening!

The ending of every episode has you wanting more and that is exactly why I loved it.

I did see that Danny Brocklehurst and Harlan Coben co- wrote another Netflix series called Safe so I am definitely going to put that one on the must watch list!

One of the great things about winter is definitely cold nights watching some great shows/movies with my hubby.





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Friday, September 1, 2017

Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed

Thirteen (TV Mini-Series) Reviewed
This is one of the best mistakes I have ever made!  I was searching Amazon Prime Video for a show I could watch while working on mundane site code.  I quickly clicked on the second season of a different tv series and the show started.  Not realizing I had inadvertently started a new miniseries, I keep thinking, who are these people?  But, soon it didn't matter because I was totally hooked on Thirteen.  

Thirteen would not have been a series I would have selected intentionally.  Child abduction is a subject I try to completely avoid on tv, in movies, or even in books.  It is a parent's worst nightmare and even though my own children are grown, not knowing where my child is, not hearing their voice on a regular basis, or not knowing they are safe, still sends me into panic mode.  

I said all of that because I want you to know that in spite of my own worst fears and horrors, Thirteen in one of the most riveting miniseries I have ever watched and I highly recommend it.


How "Thirteen" Begins


 Episode 1 of ThirteenThe miniseries begins with a young woman, 26 years old, running from a house, finding a pay phone and calling the police.  She claims to be Ivy Moxam, an abduction victim who hasn't been seen in 13 years.  The police are skeptical because over the years two others have claimed to be Ivy.  However, after DNA tests, it is confirmed that this woman is in fact the girl who was kidnapped when she was 13.  

It is immediately clear that Ivy is overwhelmed, insecure, scared, resistant to talk, and easily confused by too many people with too many questions.  This is understandable because she had been chained in a cellar for 13 years without any communication with the outside world.  Plus, her formal education had ended.  In many ways, she was still 13 years old.  

Her stress and anxiety are only heightened when the police find the house where she was held all those years.  Because her clothes are found in her abductors' bedroom, the police don't know what to believe.  They question the validity of her story and press her for answers she can't give.  After all, the kidnapper is still at large and the police would really like to arrest him.

In the first episode of the series, we discover that several people's lives suffered collateral damage.  Her parents are separated, her father has a mistress, her best friend, Eloise, left town, and her boyfriend, Tim, has married, but is still haunted by the past.  

The family strives for normalcy in order to give Ivy a secure, familiar home.  They are elated to have Ivy back home, but it is a time of readjustment for all.  Her father moves back in, hiding his secret from Ivy.  Her mother hurries to put things in the house back the way it was 13 years ago.  Ivy's sister was initially skeptical, but once the DNA test confirm her identity, she wants to help her sister.  She puts Ivy's needs above everything else, including her fiance.  

In an effort to reclaim her life, Ivy contacts her old boyfriend and invites him over.  He doesn't have the heart to tell her he is married now.  His own confusion is clear as he struggles to choose between the past and his present.   Neither Tim, nor her family, want to do or say the wrong thing.  They simply want to protect her.


Ivy has only been home for a few days.  She is struggling to find her place, remember who she is or is supposed to be, reestablish relationships and survive the constant pressure from the police to help them capture Leonard, aka Mark White, her kidnapper.  That pressure intensifies exponentially when Mark abducts a 10 year old.


My Opinion and Recommendation of "Thirteen"  


As I said in the the introduction, in only a few scenes, I was completely hooked on Thirteen.  Instead of having a tv show as background noise while I worked, I ended up setting aside my work and watching the miniseries.  I did not break between episodes.  I was so ingrained in the plot, that I watched all five episodes (5 hours) that night.  

The girl who played the part of Ivy did such an extraordinary job that I found myself siding with her completely.  Her facial expressions alone conveyed a world of anguish and uncertainty.  I could easily believe she was Ivy Moxam, a child who had been abducted, mentally and physically abused for 13 years.

This miniseries does an excellent job of showing how people can be trapped in the past, yet somehow manage to live on.  How so many things change because we can't just stop the progression of time, but how we can instantly be thrown back into time by simply having someone from our past return to us. 

From the very beginning, I was on Ivy's side.  I believed her and I believed in her strength of survival.  I was not disappointed in her final actions at the end of the 5th episode.  I believe you will definitely want to see this miniseries for yourself.

 Thirteen - Complete Mini-Series
on DVD
Check Price
 Episode 1 of Thirteen - Amazon Prime Video
Free with Prime Membership
Check Price

 



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Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed Written by:
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