How’s it going, Reader Peeps? I’m feeling a little scattered, a little behind, but we all are this time of year, right? Please say yes. 😂
You know, with the holidays, the plague of the moment… Here in East Hawaii, add in two simultaneously erupting volcanic eruptions that are maybe hopefully not so active right now, but still help create voggy skies and a roof full of starving solar panels.
All in all, it is definitely a recipe for distraction.
If you’re going to be distracted like me, you might as well have something fun to watch. By fun, I mean it either gives you energy, or it gives you something to think about besides [see terrors of paragraph two].
Here are five Mystery and Thriller shows I’ve been enjoying recently.
Some of these shows are dropping right now on streaming services, and some are even older than me! (Don’t ask by how much.)
Caveat: at the risk of prompting Duh! outbursts across the internet, not everyone likes the same things.
I will forgive a show a few plot holes if I’m hooked by its characters, but woe to the show that betrays character consistency for the sake of plot. So here goes! Click on the title to see a trailer (with one dated exception).
- The Green Glove Gang (Netflix): This fun Polish series features three women professional burglars of a certain age (that being mid-60s to early 70s) who are lying low in a nursing home, dodging the cops after a botched heist. They stumble upon something nefarious among the elderly residents and, being Robin Hood types, decide to do something about it. I’m always a sucker for a heist, but this show has so much more. The longstanding female friendships feel real, as imperfect but resilient as the characters themselves. It’s my first Polish TV show, and I really enjoyed the sensation of things being the same, but different (if that makes sense). It’s also shorter than most crime series, with eight episodes clocking in around thirty minutes, so it’s a lower commitment.
- Slow Horses (Apple TV) I have not read the Mick Herron books that inspired this spy series; I will have to remedy that. The show follows a group of screw-up agents that have been banished to Slough House, the outer reaches of the MI5 universe. It does an amazing job of combining dark humor and tragedy and despair and malaise and maybe, just maybe producing a sliver of animated hope from time to time. (Don’t worry; it will be properly dashed.) I wasn’t surprised to learn that Graham Yost (Justified!) is an executive producer. The Season 2 episodes are still dropping on Apple TV.
- Three Pines (Amazon Prime) I haven’t read all of Louise Penny’s Quebec-based Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books, but I’ve read enough for them to be on my perpetual TBR. It’s so satisfying to watch such a heartfelt adaptation of the series, with its rich characters and setting. Alfred Molina is especially good as the vulnerable and nonjudgmental inspector, and he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast. Episodes drop on Amazon Prime every Friday at midnight, which means Thursday night at a reasonable time in Hawaii. 😉
- Black Spot (Netflix) This French police procedural (maybe supernatural) thriller is all about the atmosphere, baby! Filmed in France near the German Black Forest, it practically screams Grimm’s Fairy Tale. The recurring shots of fog-draped mountains remind me of photos I kept handy while writing my own Dead Hollow supernatural thrillogy. Think Nordic Noir meets Twin Peaks, before Twin Peaks got super woo-woo. We haven’t watched Season 2 yet; for us, it was a dark enough show to encourage a binge break between seasons.
- Longstreet (DVD): On the nights that our satellite internet just can’t triumph over the rain or sun spots or bird farts, this 1971 crime show has been holding up surprisingly well. Mike Longstreet is a New Orleans insurance investigator, blinded and widowed by a bomb attack, but determined to keep doing what he does so well. It was mostly shot in Los Angeles, but it’s fun for my NOLA husband and me to spot the real New Orleans shots. And did I mention four of the twenty-three episodes include scene-stealing appearances by Bruce Lee? 🥷
I know I said Five, but I have to share Seven Shows since this is Sunday, right? Versus my Friday Five Lists. (I actually started this on Friday, but we’ve been slammed by thunderstorms for days, so it looks like I’m finally posting on Monday. 🤞)
I’ll wrap up with two more Honorable Mentions, with an explanation of why they didn’t make the top tier cut. Happy viewing!
In From the Cold (Netflix): I have mixed feelings about this spy thriller show. (There is a sort of sci fi element, but it’s really more like something Q wishes he had for Bond than inexplicable superpowers.)
Pros column: Madrid is gorgeous! It was a great way to practice my pitiful Russian language ear. (The actress playing the main character and many of the other actors speak it fluently.) And it features a forty-something mom protagonist kicking ass. That’s what I’m talking about! But…
The Cons: the episodes felt a little uneven, as was the overall tone. And then there’s the ending… let’s just say I don’t mind a twist, but I need to know if they played fair, and I have a sneaking suspicion they didn’t. I’ll try to reserve judgment if and until there is a second season.
Warrior Nun (Netflix) First off, I think the Spain tourism board has someone placed high up at Netflix. Wow! This one gives you the travel bug for both Madrid and Andalusia, Spain, while throwing in some Vatican City snippets. Of course they go to Vatican City, there’s a Warrior Nun!
Hubs and I really loved this show and can’t wait for Season 3. Why did I hesitate to include it? Because the genre is… I don’t know, YA dark fantasy? Definitely not a mystery, but it’s based on a manga comic, so it brings the thrills. That said, it actually doesn’t start out in the direction I expected, and some people don’t like that. It works for me; it’s very grounded in the character, and the actress at the center of it all had me buying all in.
Bad news, though—I just found out Netflix cancelled Season 3, and I’m praying (yes, I went there) that another network picks it up.