It’s that time of year again when everyone talks about their lists of favourite reads. I spend a lot of time talking about new book releases online and on the blog here, so I thought I’d focus on my favourite TV dramas of 2014 instead. There’s been plenty of quality to choose from this year, but I churned it over awhile and finally picked my top three.
You won’t be surprised to see that they are all crime dramas and, interestingly, every one of these opened with a second series on the BBC in 2014.
I was intrigued by the first series of The Fall, not least because the storyline was written partly through the eyes of the serial killer, Paul Spector, a married man with children, a counsellor by profession, who broke into the houses of young women and ritually killed them.
Set in Belfast, Gillian Anderson plays a fascinating Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson who is given the role of investigating the murders.
I admit that I was slightly disappointed with the ending of the first series. It was controversial in many ways that I cannot mention here without giving away spoilers, however where that one failed to deliver, this one does so in bucket loads. Here the storyline deepens and we discover more about the backgrounds of our parallel lead characters of Spector and Gibson who become increasingly intrigued with each other as the case reaches it crescendo.
There were a few ‘shout at the TV moments’ when events seemed a bit far-fetched, and Gibson pouted far more than needed, but this is fiction and it certainly delivered a damn good storyline that made for compelling viewing.
Set during the aftermath of the First World War, this drama follows an organised crime group, established and led by the Shelby family. Of travelling origin, Thomas Shelby is a ruthless boss who works to expand his gambling empire and become a ‘legitimate’ business man.
Set between Birmingham and London, the Peaky Blinders get their name from the razor blade weapons conveniently secured in the peaks of their caps. I should say that this series is not for the faint hearted; you need a cast iron stomach to deal the extent of gratuitous violence at times, but its strength comes in a strong plot supported by deep characters. The dark war memories provide the perfect background for the warped personalities of the Shelby brothers and Cillian Murphy plays an incredibly compelling and intriguing character in Thomas, while Helen McCrory is formidable as Aunt Polly.
If you like a good gritty, historical crime drama – a little different to the norm in my experience – then I’d recommend giving this one a go. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I’m quite a convert to Scandinavian crime dramas and, having thoroughly enjoyed The Killing and Borgen, I plunged head first into The Bridge this year which follows a police investigation into murders that span the Danish and Swedish borders.
The Bridge differs to the other dramas mentioned above in that it covers two distinctly separate investigations in each series. However, what is more probably more enchanting than the actual plots is the working relationship that plays out between the Swedish, Saga Noren, and Danish, Martin Rohde, that team up together to solve these cross-border crimes amidst a wonderfully, dark Scandinavian backdrop. And this relationship is tested to the limit in the second series which ends with a most unexpected twist.
Sub-titles are an absolute must for this drama, so if you can bear them I’d definitely give it a go. You won’t be sorry.
Well, that’s my top three crime dramas of the year. Did you enjoy these or are there any others that you preferred and are of notable mention? Do get in touch, either on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments here. I’m always looking for new recommendations.
Happy 2015! Let’s hope it’s a good one and filled with a host of new and original story lines for us all to enjoy.