Rosemary & Thyme, Season One

British TV Series – 2003.

A plant pathologist Rosemary Boxer teams up with a former constable Laura Thyme as two gardeners with a penchant for being around when dead bodies are found.

The season opens with Laura being dumped by her husband for a younger women and meeting Rosemary in a bed & breakfast where the two are staying. The two ladies hit it off and they uncover the culprits in each episode where dead bodies are uncovered.

Each episode has a new dead body and a new set of clues as to the culprit. Rosemary & Thyme have some far-fetched theories of the ultimate whodunnit but they do seem to stumble upon them in British fashion.

Lilyhammer

This is a Netflix original series and season one began in 2011. This started off as an ugly duckling but you warmed up to it and the characters.

Mob boss Frank Tagliano rats out another mob boss after an attempt to snuff him out in his own bar goes awry. So, as a result of Frank giving up the Mafia boss he enters the witness protection program. He chooses Lilyhammer, Norway and he becomes Giovanni Henriksen.

Once here, Giovanni learns that Norway has a very bureaucratic culture and frustration after frustration, Giovanni reverts to his old ways and molds his new surroundings to fit his lifestyle.

This mini-series starts off slow but in the second or third episode you get hooked on the characters and I ended up watching all eight episodes. Season one did end kind of flat and wasn’t the ending I might have expected, but then again that’s what surprise endings are for.

I debated on the popcorn box rating but decided to give this a generous 3 PB mainly due to the likable characters. Oh, and you’ll love the theme song!

DNA

Another British TV series that holds your interest from the first episode to the last which is set in Manchester, England. In season one, Joe Donovan (Tom Conti) battles wits with a serial killer and realizes the killer might be after his wife.  He finally outwits the killer but later finds out his wife has been cheating on him.

His wife eventually leaves him and he’s much better off without out her as she is quite self-centered. Oh, and she really gets upset when she finds out he had an affair after she left him. And did I mention Joe tends to blackout with no memory of the time span?

Okay, let’s get back to the TV series season two. More redrum – excuse me for the flashback – more murder mayhem continues with a new team of forensic scientists. Women begin showing up dead and the local down and outer seems to be the likely suspect. Me thinks we find out differently.

The last episode takes place on a military base and everything is kept hush-hush in the interests of national security. Without giving too much away remember the blindfold. Have butter on the popcorn with whatever chocolate morsels suit your fancy, I think I’m going with the Goobers and the Sno-Caps.

Kingdom Series 3

In the third and final Kingdom series Peter, Beatrice, Gloria, Aunt Auriel, and Lyle have moved on from Simon’s drowning.

This season brings us a scuffle between a soldier’s death and his girlfriend’s attempt to enlist in the same regiment but is denied. Enter Lyle to figure out the reasoning behind it all.

Then crop circles emerge in one resident’s hay fields wreaking havoc from the Sci-Fi followers, remember Dr. Who? What Sci-Fi fan doesn’t?? Peter surmises some of the local townsfolk no more than they’re letting on.

A doctor searches for a cure using animals much to the chagrin of her daughter but do the ends justify the means? A bit of a twist here. Meanwhile a group of nuns are homeless as Lyle spoils a developers chance to oust the nuns in favor of “development”.  And who is judge Jeremy Harding? And is solicitor Emily smitten with Lyle or vice versa?

Sydney gets married but not to who you might think and at the reception Peter collapses with an apparent heart condition and finds he has diabetes but here’s the real shocker – Peter is not Beatrice’s brother (camera pans to Aunt Auriel) who simply states “It’s true…” and the series ends – what a shocker!

I had originally thought a series 4 was on the horizon, but I think not. The entire series was fantastic and decided to upgrade this to 5 popcorn boxes due to the cliff hanger of an ending. Oh, put butter on the popcorn – all you want, plus 2 bags of red licorice, a box of Dots, a box of Good & Plenty, a box of Raisinets, and a box of Sno-Caps.

Kingdom Season 2

Peter is thrilled to be a surrogate father to his new nephew and helping Honor out until she can figure out what she will do. In the meantime Peter attempts to help the Women’s Institute save the local lighthouse but two members oppose this as they want it destroyed. Then two entrepreneurs are fighting over road side food vans and during the melee Peter and Lyle find out they are brothers. When Peter and Beatrice return home they are shocked to find Simon in the sitting room.

With the reappearance of Simon life changes a bit for everyone in the Kingdom household all the while Peter is adamant that he cannot represent his brother at trial. Yet Peter still handles the lives of others in an attempt to ease a daughter’s despair over her father getting involved with a younger floozy at the retirement home where Peter’s Aunt Auriel lives. Although under circumstantial events amongst the daughter, the father, and the gold digger we believe one way, but is it the correct one? Are we missing something and only looking for the evil in people? What you find out will surprise you.

Then the shocker that Beatrice is pregnant and won’t tell anyone who the father is. She decides to leave for a place where she can have the baby with a support group. She makes Simon promise to be there for when she needs him most. Peter is hurt that Beatrice chose Simon over him to be her birthing partner. However, when Beatrice returns with her baby girl Peter is honored as the baby’s name is Peta.

With Simon’s trial pending it is the only thing on Peter’s mind when a horrible storm with heavy rains befalls Market Shipborough and it appears that once again Simon has drowned. Although this was a great season it didn’t have the “pop” Season 1 started with hence the downgrading of 1/2 popcorn box but what the heck, yeah, put butter on the popcorn and grab a couple of miniature chocolates and enjoy this second season of Kingdom. Wait till Season 3…oh, did I mention the big bag of money?

 

Kingdom – Season 1

Recommended by Mike, one of my Canadian Connections…

In this first season (2007), Peter Kingdom hails from a small village of Market Shipborough as an attorney at law helping the townspeople get what’s due them from the wrongs of society. Along with his efficient secretary, Gloria and his new apprentice, Lyle stave off the likes of Sidney Snell, the town slob while he attempts to sue everyone for just about everything. Another character to emerge is Peter’s half sister, sex -starved Beatrice. She is sure to charm the local townsfolk into becoming new and aspiring artists.

From the start of episode one, we are led to believe Simon, Peter’s half brother is dead from an apparent suicide. The end of season one leaves us guessing as Honor, a young women, shows up at the law firm and claims she is Christopher Waller’s lover with his son in tow. Is Chris and Simon the same person or is there just a misunderstanding of the whole situation – you’ll have to wait for season 2 to find out.

Once you start watching this British TV series it is tough to just watch an episode or two and you quickly become entranced with the characters. Yup, put butter on that popcorn, add in a box of Jujubes, a box of Dots, 2 bags of red licorice, and a box of Milk Duds.

 

Collision

Collision, a 2009 British TV series, recounts the events of a fateful afternoon on the A12. The multiple car crash reunites a detective and his partner and the two police sleuths begin to piece together unlikely events. The crash scene did not provide many details at first glance but the two detectives begin to build on the facts based on eyewitness accounts from each of the drivers involved. Their investigation unveils some dark secrets, corporate crime, smuggling, and lest we not forget – murder. The surprising ending reveals how a multiple car crash, or any event for that matter, was caused by an unexpected, simple defining moment in time. The director artfully combined the present day investigations with flash backs of the crash in progress.

Downton Abbey

Well, the Brits have done it again and produced an exceptional 2010 TV series in Masterpiece Classic fashion for the first season of Downton Abbey. The series depicts the mechanics of running a lordship in the English countryside during the early 1900s with the burden of royalty always ever present. It also takes a look at the perils of having an extensive waitstaff amidst all the rumors both real and fabricated and how they effect the upper class.

The sinking of the Titanic wreaks havoc on the stability of the Crawley family with the death of the heir apparent and seeing as the current earl has only daughters in his fold, the logical choice of action is to have the eldest daughter, Mary wed a distant cousin. This is where this TV series starts and instead of giving you a blow by blow of each episode (7 in all) I decided to let you enjoy the pleasures and perils of the Crawley family and their servants on your own at your leisure – you didn’t think I was going to give it all away here now did you? I can tell you that the first season ends with Lord Crawley letting everyone know at the party that they have gone to war with Germany, so all the unanswered questions you had till this point…

The actors and actresses portraying the main or supporting characters play their respective roles superbly and to a “T” in that there are some characters you love and some you love to despise. Add butter to the popcorn, 2 packages of licorice, 2 boxes of Dots, and a box of Junior Mints.

Place Of Execution

This 2009 Masterpiece Classic is a two-part episode whodunnit that captivates you from the opening scene and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Catherine Heathcoat is a journalist making a documentary on the disappearance and apparent murder of a young 13-year old girl. The stepfather is the obvious choice as the culprit, but Catherine discovers some “mistakes” regarding the original investigation and…You know I can’t tell you anymore don’t you??

The director artfully mixes flash backs of the original investigation with present day activities surrounding the documentary. Juliet Stevenson plays the resilient journalist with a top-notch performance. Add in a box of Raisinets, a box of Goobers, a box of Good & Plenty, and a package of red licorice. Oh, and add extra butter to the popcorn.

Archangel

TV Series – British.

This three episode TV series follows British historian, Fluke Kelso, an expert in Stalinist-era Russia as he is approached by a former Stalin bodyguard claiming to possess a journal belonging to Joseph Stalin. This cloak and dagger thriller has some twists and turns. Add in a box of Dots, and a box of Jujubes.