Salamander: Paul Gerardi is a Belgian cop with an inextricably Italian name, a whiny wife (gosh, where have I seen that before?), a sullen teen daughter (so far not looking good) and a crime that no one, least of all the victims, wants to talk about let alone report to the police. The only reason Gerardi even knows about it is because a snitch told him so. And when that same snitch turns up dead from an obviously faked suicide the game is on to find out who is behind the break in.
Besides the novelty of this being a Belgian cop procedural (how many of those do you come across everyday?), it’s also a hoot to see a different take on a well-worn genre. I also found it fun to listen to as I am pretty sure the cast speaks at least three different languages, often times all in the same sentence. (Netflix)
Red Dwarf: I honestly don’t like science fiction, unless it is British, or a comedy, or preferably both as in this whack-job of a show. Red Dwarf is the name of a mining ship in the future. Three million years after a radiation leak kills everyone on board except lowest man on the totem pole Dave Lister and his pregnant cat Frankenstein, they are brought out of stasis by the ship’s Debby Downer of a computer named Holly.
To keep Lister from going completely bonkers ( we all know cats are not always the best of company), Holly resurrects Lister’s former supervisor/roommate/all around stick-in-the-mud and the one responsible for the radiation leak, Arnold Rimmer as a hologram. He wears a giant H on his forehead just to make sure no one forgets that he isn’t real. Add in a rescued android butler Kryten programmed to serve, even if his crew has been obviously dead for years, and you have about eight seasons (British) of smegging good fun. (Netflix)
Fun Fact: Alan Rickman, yes, that Alan Rickman, auditioned for this series back in the day. The mind blows just thinking about that.
The Returned (Les Revenants): creeptastic in all the right ways, this French series is based on a film and takes place in a small mountainside village where many dead people suddenly reappear years after their supposed deaths, some many more years than others. Camille, a twin killed in a school bus crash along with all her other classmates is the first one we meet. Her sister Lena stayed home from school that day (for naughty reasons) so while she has grown up, Camille has not. Victor, a young boy who was murdered along with the rest of his family by intruders, finds refuge with Julie, a local nurse. The little boy who plays Victor is amazing, his character speaks very little dialogue throughout the first series yet conveys so much with his big brown eyes that half of Hollywood should be jealous. Along the way we also meet Simon, a musician who may or may have not committed suicide on the day of his wedding (poor Adele!), Serge, the town’s cannibalistic serial killer who has crossed paths with Julie in the past, and Mrs. Costa (her character has no first name), who is by far the least trust-worthy of the returned, more so than even Serge the serial killer.
There is an eerie visual vibe throughout the series that reminds me of a mash up of Twin Peaks and Top of the Lake with a little bit of The Shining thrown in for good measure. Beautiful scenery and a moody soundtrack by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai also adds to the creep factor of this show. As more and more of the returned show up in town strange things start occurring. The electricity goes on and off, often when one of the returned walks by, the lake begins losing water and animals start drowning in large numbers for unknown reasons. Throw in a woman, Lucy, who is clairvoyant only whilst having sex and you know you are in for a freaky ride. No pun intended.
I found it very intriguing that the returners always seem to be eating, like a lot. It is the very first thing Camille does when she shows up back at her home after four years of being dead. According to BBC America’s In the Flesh (where I get all my zombie data from) zombies can’t eat food food, only human brains. So note to to all those Match.com users out there, be sure to meet your dates somewhere where there is FOOD available and watch them eat it, just to be safe. Even if you are just meeting for a drink, make sure you get some appetizers. I recommend nachos. Also, speaking from experience I am not so sure this is the best show to watch before you go to bed, just saying. (Netflix)