I refuse to look at a calendar and calculate how long it’s been since I’ve shared a blog post, but the impending-ness of 2024 finally got me off my tuchus. (Bet you’ve always wanted to know how to spell tuchus—you’re welcome.)
It seems like a good time to share Five Shows before the 2024 season rolls around.
(And, honestly, before I forget about them. In that vein, I have another Five Shows semi-queued up; we’ll see if I actually post it before 2023 gives us the middle finger. 😉)
These programs aren’t necessarily The Best Viewing Entertainment of All Time, in pulsing neon letters, but I enjoyed watching them. And the platform availability (in parens) is from the time of posting, so good luck with the hunt. Click on the show’s title to see its trailer.
Shows often find the sweet spot for me by hitting the character feels, but most of the ones here are also bringing their A-game on setting. These aren’t listed in any particular order, except that I will start with my favorite. Happy watching!
- DARK WINDS (AMC+, streaming purchase, DVD): Most mystery fans have at least dabbled in Tony (and later daughter Anne) Hillerman’s Navajo Reservation police procedurals. Dark Winds takes the barest bones of this world and puts new flesh on them. The crime series is set in the 1970s, earlier than most of the novels, and some of the characters bear little resemblance to their literary counterparts. I. Don’t. Care. I love this show. (Note: I haven’t seen Season 2 yet, and if you spoil it, you will be dead to me, and maybe to everyone else as well.) This show feels like Hillerman’s world, but as seen by the people who actually live in it. The stellar cast is almost entirely Indigenous, as is most of the production team, and the only thing I love more than the show is seeing the amazing Zach McClarnon finally getting his leading man moment.
- TROPPO (FreeVee): I’ve never read anything by Candice Fox, but after watching the Australian mystery inspired by her book Crimson Lake, she is definitely on my TBR. Nicole Chamoun is mesmerizing as an outwardly bad-ass, yet vulnerable tattoo artist/private investigator. Thomas Jane (who will forever be Miller to this The Expanse fan) plays a disgraced cop turned partner who should be her grizzled, reluctant anchor, if he doesn’t sink himself first. Two notes of warning: it is a dark show. And you will sweat just looking at the Queensland locations, even if you don’t live in Hawaii without air conditioning. 🌡️💦
- WISTING (AMC+, Acorn, streaming purchase, DVD): I have to admit, I first clicked on this Norwegian crime drama because I wanted to see Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) speak Norwegian. She doesn’t, in her consulting FBI agent role, but it was still well worth watching. Season One combines two books by Jørn Lier Horst. Think ScandiNoir police procedural, with a widowed detective and adult kids, including a journalist daughter. (You know that’s going to come into play…) I hear if you alternate watching frigid, snowy episodes of Wisting with tropical Troppo, the shocking temperature differential strengthens your immune system. 🤔
- THE FOREST (Netflix, streaming purchase): You may recall me mentioning French police procedural Black Spot in a previous Five Shows post. Filmed in Belgium, The Forest has similar spooky, gorgeously forested mountains, but unlike Black Spot you won’t be seeing any Celtic gods roaming amongst them. InThe Forest, the POV jumps around more, too, in that way that makes you feel as if the Ah-hah moment will come when you untangle the characters’ secret connections. That said, I’ve found that with many of these shows, getting too hung up on the plot may impair your enjoyment.
- THE AFTERPARTY (AppleTV+): If you’ve been cringing through the unrelenting darkness or have just hit the existential crime wall, this comedy murder mystery might be your fix. A classmate is murdered at a high school reunion afterparty, and each episode presents the point of view of another witness/suspect… told in the style of a different movie genre. Music, costumes, tropes—you name it, they’re all different. Depending on your personal preferences, among both characters and genres, some episodes will land better than others, but I guarantee at least one will make you bust a gut. Your own, while laughing, in case the previous twisted shows made that unclear. 😜