Let me first start this blog post by saying this:
It doesn’t matter if you know all the characters depicted in the writings of Charles Dickens; it doesn’t matter if you like or have ever played chess; and it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever worked in a senior facility. The shows I’m about to recommend to you are all wonderful distractions during our ongoing lockdowns.
First up, DICKENSIAN.
Available on Amazon Prime, Dickensian is a wonderfully done “who done it” romp through Dickens’ London as the characters from all of his books come alive as they cross paths and interconnect in this 10-part series. The biggest complaint I have about this series is that there wasn’t a Season 2. So much more storytelling could have occurred after the last episode. Getting the ability to see the backstory of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, the Barnaby sisters from Bleak House, and the Cratchitt’s and Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, among other works by Dickens, was a treat. Meriwether Compeyson from Great Expectations is the perfect villain. Fagin from Oliver Twist is a little devil. Mrs. Cratchitt’s commitment to her husband and family are all told in this wonderful show that will surely take you away. The costumes and settings also put you there, and the acting is superb.
My favorite character was Detective Bucket (pictured in the forefront here, played by Stephen Rae), who has come into the fold to solve the crime of Jacob Marley’s murder. I bet you can’t guess who the murderer is…
Second up, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
Available on Netflix, over 62 million people have watched this seven-episode series about a girl who has an extraordinary gift—she is a chess-playing prodigy. Beth Harmon grows up in an orphanage/school and, through her connection with the school’s janitor, learns how to play chess. She astounds him, and things begin to happen. Simultaneously, she deals with a drug addiction that begins in the orphanage, and continues as she is adopted and into adulthood. It’s a unique story, and we see Beth grow and change, along with her chess playing. You won’t regret this one–the storyline, fantastic outfits that she wears as she grows and matures, and the set design are really wonderful.
Third up, DEREK.
As an American who ONLY watched the British version of The Office, written and created by Ricky Gervais, my husband and I decided to watch this show. It’s two seasons of total sweetness, raunchiness, raucousness, and just a good time, with sweet characters in funny situations centered in a senior care home. Derek, played by Gervais, is sort of a special guy – he’s a nerdy, quirky character, but the kindest person you’d ever want to meet. According to an interview with Gervais, he said that he’s the kind of person you just want to be friends with, and he had to make him a little nerdy so that he’s not too perfect. This show is touching in parts so much so that you may shed a tear. I loved it. It’s my favorite of all Gervais’ works to date.
Finally, all of these shows are very well written. The amount of research for Dickensian–to make it all work well–is astounding.
So, now that I’ve finished binge watching these shows, what have you got for me? Clearly, I’m up for something new, and the Game of Thrones prequel doesn’t come out until next year. I cannot wait for that.
What do you recommend?
Stephanie Verni is the author of five works of fiction: Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, Little Milestones, and a collection of short stories and poetry called The Postcard. She is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice. Visit her Amazon Author Page by clicking here.