When I began to write “for real,” I was working. There was never enough time to do what needed to be done, even when I woke up at 4 AM to peck away. Watching television soon went by the wayside, and not only because I couldn’t wrestle the remote away from my husband. I got antsy and guilty sitting around, and most shows were simply not my cup of tea. No canned laughter for me. No darkness and gore and violence. And definitely no Real Housewives of Botoxia and Implantistan.
Fast-forward to present-day Maggie, who still doesn’t turn on the TV in the living room, but…
I confess. I am cheating on my book and streaming stuff on my computer. Here I sit barefoot at my desk, my screen bigger than the first black and white TV my parents bought in the fifties. I am a fool for procrastination—my current WIP has been about half-way done for too many months to count. I’ve tricked myself into thinking I’m doing “research” by watching newish mystery series. I dream of the Lady Adelaide books being optioned (Manifesting. Make it so. I will put shoes on for the premiere.).
I always had trouble committing to “tune in next week,” but how lovely it is to be able to binge several episodes at once, only pausing for snacks and nature. I prefer cozy, light, nearly disposable shows. However, I find gritty Slow Horses on Apple+ extremely compelling, though I’ve had to close my eyes for a lot of it. The writing is perfection. Gary Oldman is simply spectacular, but does need a shower.
If you, too, are looking to kill a few hours/search for inspiration, I have some suggestions. They are in no particular order, not even alphabetical. I may not watch much TV, but my husband has a subscription to virtually every streaming service out there, so some are on Acorn and BritBox. You will notice most shows take place in the UK, because I am a hopeless Anglophile and I miss our trips abroad.
- McDonald and Dodds, set in Bath, England, features an older neurodivergent sergeant and his very ambitious young female boss who has come to count on his off-kilter detection skills.
- Agatha Raisin, based on the M.C. Beaton books. Nice ensemble cast. A bit (okay, a lot) silly in spots. Great clothes, though.
- The Chelsea Detective. London. A houseboat on the Thames. Multifaceted, empathetic leads. Really good and the city looks great.
- Only Murders in the Building. NYC. Sweet Selena Gomez with geezers Martin Short and Steve Martin. So much fun, though it got kind of crazy/uneven as the season went on. Can’t wait for Round 2 anyhow.
- Shakespeare and Hathaway. P.I.s in Stratford. Wonderful scenery. A tribute to British actors resembling real people in all their avoirdupois and scruffiness. No Botox here.
- Harry Wild. Ireland. Retired (abrasive, wine-swilling, grammar-and-literature-addicted) college professor discovers she has a knack for solving murders, much to her Garda son’s dismay.
- Murder in Provence. Mature adults in a mature relationship. Food. France. More food. No subtitles necessary because they’re all British actors who look like they’re having a blast drinking French wine in lavender fields after work.
- Madame Blanc. France again with British actors. Armchair travel avec antiques.
- Whitstable Pearl. Kent, UK. Diverse cast. A little moody. Interesting cases. The beach. Made me want to drink beer, eat seafood, and watch the sun go down.
- Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Wales. Classic Christie. I’d read and seen it before, but this latest production was very stylish and I’m going to watch it again.
I also viewed the new Dalgliesh iteration. I read all the books when they came out decades ago, so consequently remember none of the plots, LOL. The look is very evocative of the time period, which is slightly depressing. Dalgliesh’s male sergeant is as sleazy as they come, and has the mustache to prove it. It’s very well done, but I can’t say it warmed my heart.
What have I missed? What else should I be watching? Will I ever finish my book? Stay tuned.