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Here’s my input …
Apple is busting its US bubble with their latest original, Trying, an easily digestible feel-good comedy that that traces out the lives of two Londoner thirty-somethings who are, yes, “trying” to have a baby. It’s no spoiler to say that they can’t conceive (you find that out early in episode one) so they embark on a journey of adoption, discovering it’s a long-winded process that is fraught with many pitfalls. Prepare yourself for a predictable mix of likeable comedy and sentimental drama tightly packaged into eight half-hour episodes. There’s not much new ground broken here, but it is undeniably warm and engaging thanks to the leads Rafe Spall and Esther Smith who strike up a decent amount of chemistry and are surrounded by a solid cast that includes the versatile Imelda Staunton. Yes, Trying is whimsical and the couple’s cherry optimism as they flit around Camden and other recognisable London landmarks will have some groaning. It’s no Fleabag, but if you’re getting tired of the misery out there in TV-land then this is the perfect tonic.
Deadwater Fell (TVNZ OnDemand)
Just what I needed in these grim times was a good ol’ fashioned pick-me-up. Deadwater Fell isn’t that series. This four-part mini-series is a grim dirge of a drama as suggested by its rather foreboding title. Writer Daisy Coulam (Grantchester, Death in Paradise) appears to have plumbed the depths of her dark mind to uncover this tale of misery. Set to the backdrop of a dreary Scottish town, this crime drama focusses on a seemingly happy family who meets a firefly demise in their home but for the only survivor, Tom (David Tennant). The town quickly becomes suspicious of the part he might’ve played in the fire leading to dark looks, finger-pointing, and angry villagers with pitch-forks at the ready. Despite the depressing subject matter Coulam and fellow director Lynsey Miller have done a fine job of slowly revealing each character’s back-story, dangling an apparent truth and then suggesting otherwise. It is undeniably well produced and acted, but it is also unbearably bleak. So, for many now may not be the time.