This Review Roundup includes some series and mini-series from the UK & Ireland that have been released on DVD or Blu-ray over the past few months. They came my way late, but I overall enjoyed all of them. Up first is Finding Joy: Series 2. I absolutely adored the first season and Series 2 is no different. Amy Huberman is charming, funny and adorable and I wish more people in the States would search out the series. Series 2 finds Joy out on her own with a small team trying to help her “brand” online. She’s trying to vlog and grow her subscriber count and has all the shenanigans you expect. She accidentally calls herself VOLCEL, voluntarily celibate, her best friend has a baby and is having issues with her husband, Joy travels out of her comfort zone, back to an area she went to as a kid and meets up with a cousin and that doesn’t go as expected. It’s just a solid, quirky comedy and Huberman is great in the role. If you enjoyed the first series, definitely pick up series 2. I can’t wait for more seasons.
Second we have Des, a miniseries starring David Tennant as a famous serial killer of men in 1980s London. Tennant plays Dennis Nilsen, aka Des, a former cop turned civil servant who lured gay, homeless or drug addicted men back to his flat and strangled them to death. Human remains were found in his drain and Des tells the police all about the men he killed, upwards of 15 of them. The miniseries tracks his arrest, the case built against him, trying to identify all the men and ultimately the trial. It’s based on a book by a writer who visited Des in prison before the trial. Tennant is creepy as heck in the role and it’s one of his better performances to me. If you are a fan of the Doctor Who star, definitely seek this one out.
Next we have Soulmates: Season One. It’s a Black Mirror/Twilight Zone type series slightly based in the future with 6 episodes and one overlapping theme. It opens with an episode that introduces “The Test”, a test that matches people to their soulmate. Sarah Snook plays a somewhat happily married woman with kids who had no interest in The Test until her neighbor takes it and leaves her husband for her “soulmate” from the results. Snook’s character soon starts feeling pressure from this new matchmaking system and questioning her own marriage and the idea of love. The second episode deals with a professor who is met by someone claiming to be his soulmate. He’s married, but so isn’t she, but soon he realizes she used his Test results for revenge. Third finds a married couple who have an open marriage sexually, but the wife meets her soulmate, another woman that causes a riff between her and husband with quite the funny ending. Four stars Bill Skarsgard as a gay man on his way to meet his soulmate, but stops in Mexico where he meets another man, is robbed and has his passport stolen. He must fight back and get his passport back, but might learn a thing or two about himself on the way. The fifth episode takes a much darker turn with those whose soulmates have passed before they were able to meet them. A church wants to help those people, but it may also be a cult. Malin Akerman and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton star. The sixth episode goes even darker when Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt finally matches with someone, but how he treats women isn’t exactly nice. Brandt is very good in the episode. I like the first season as it slowly explores the awful side of matchmaking and technology and I’m curious to see where it goes.
Cold Call is a 4 episode series about a woman losing everything to a scam call. Her daughter is pregnant and after losing her job as a carer, she puts her house up for sale. Unbeknownst to her, her aging and sick mother had been answering scam calls and when the house is sold, all the money is swindled by fraudsters. The woman meets an old mate in a support group for fraud victims and soon gets involved in finding out who is behind the scam. She takes a job as a carer at the home of potential leader of the fraud to dig into his life and get back her money. It’s a pretty timely series and with both my parents getting up there in age, you hope it doesn’t happen to anyone you know.
Last we have The Other One Series 1. When her husband dies at his surprise party, a woman finds out he had a lover for over 30 years and another daughter. The mistress and other daughter are a bit more trashy and the wife can’t handle any of it. The two daughters, both named Catherine, start to bond and get to know each other. The non-bastard daughter is getting married and her “new” family isn’t making things easier. It’s a very offbeat comedy that ends on a pretty good cliffhanger. It’s Absolutely Fabulous meets Delicious.