Five television series that don't make me anxious
There's this picture I saw on twitter a few days ago. A man was holding hands with his girlfriend but he had stopped to stare at an attractive woman. His girlfriend was glaring at him, the man had a 'cor, look at her', thing going on and the attractive woman was walking towards the camera with a smug smile.
The girlfriend was labelled literary fiction. The man was labelled the publisher and the hot woman was labelled psychological thriller. Which made me laugh. But it got me thinking - it's not even literary fiction who has been left as the jealous and annoyed girlfriend - it's any fiction other than psychological thriller. And not just in publishing but in television, too.
If you're anything like me, this makes it very difficult to find something to watch.
I cannot read or watch psychological thrillers. In fact, let's make it broader than that. I cannot watch or read anything which has that stomach turning tension. I first discovered this when 24 with Kiefer Sutherland was the box set to watch. The ticking clock and the who will live/who will die thing going on was too much. I never finished the first series. And I tried the more recent series based in England but, again, my anxiety went through the roof.
I find it upsetting and it's really not good for my mental health. So, I steer clear.
But I have found something to watch. These five programmes below are ones I've really enjoyed this year. And yes, there is a murder mystery in there. I'm fine with cosy, Sunday evening type murders but not with those with high tension and with extreme or gruesome images.
I remember watching My Family and Other Animals as a teenager with my parents in the late 1980s. As the opening credits came on we'd get all excited as there was a clifftop scene that was shot in Sidari in Corfu which we'd been to just that year. There was Brian Blessed playing the Greek chap who couldn't say Magpies (I think he said 'mage-en'pies') and it was all very gentle.
The Durrells is a contemporary version of the same real-life family which is loosely based on Gerald Durrell's book called My Family and Other Animals. Now we have Keeley Hawes as Mrs Durrell instead of Hannah Gordon but it still has that lovely feel to it.
If you like programmes based around a family with large, colourful characters in beautifully shot scenery then this would be perfect for you.
Starring Dawn French and Emilia Fox this is the story of what happens between a family and their hotel/restaurant business in Cornwall when the husband dies leaving a mess behind. Dawn was his first wife and Emilia his second and they both have his children.
I was attracted to it by the title and the fact many of the scenes are shot around food (you have to watch the trailer below). But it also contains wonderfully flawed female characters as well as twists and turns. And for more sensitive souls there's a few naked men *wink emoji*.
You can find it in the Sky Box Sets.
Yes, I have only discovered this thanks to Meghan Markle and her recent wedding to a certain royal. But now I've found it I cannot stop watching. I was a big fan of The Good Wife so this gives me what I've been missing from that. Sharp dialogue, legal narratives, and a funny as well as a serious script.
I'm watching it on Netflix but it's also available on Amazon Prime.
I didn't watch Morse until I started watching Lewis. And I watched Lewis because of Kevin Whately (he was in Auf Wiedersehen Pet with Jimmy Nail and Timothy Spall). And through watching Lewis I watched Endeavour. Now, having watched Lewis and Endeavour I'm catching up on all the Morse episodes I've missed.
And if you have no idea what I'm talking about let me explain. Inspector Morse was a TV series filmed from 1987 - 2000 and was based on a series of detective novels by Colin Dexter. Inspector Morse would solve murder cases around Oxford with his Detective Sergeant, Robert Lewis. In 2006 the series was revived with Sergeant Lewis now an Inspector. He returns back to Oxford after a long absence and is immediately thrown into a case with Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox).
Endeavour is the TV series of Morse's early years. I found Endeavour slightly darker than Lewis, with Lewis also being slightly more formulaic, but I've enjoyed both series immensely.
If you like a murder mystery but cannot stand the more gruesome ones on TV then these are more gentler and less explicit (particularly Lewis).
You can find Endeavour on the ITV Hub with Lewis being shown on Netflix.
Grace & Frankie
Oh my goodness these two women are probably my favourite women on television this year. Grace is played by Jane Fonda and Frankie by Lily Tomlin. Both of them were born around eighty years ago.
Grace and Frankie are married to two lawyers: Robert and Sol. These two men announce to their wives that they are in love and plan to get married. Which means they're divorcing their wives.
Grace and Frankie do not start the series as friends. They're complete opposites and, despite their husbands working together and being best friends, they only tolerate each other. But this is all set to change.
Again I watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix but you can also get it on DVD.