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'Happy Valley' season 1 is a must-watch on Netflix

If you’re like me and enjoy a good cop drama from the UK, then Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire, is worth watching. It’s beyond a great replacement for viewers who like Luther. Series two (not season two), as they call it in the UK, will be up on Netflix on March 16. Series two just ended in the UK today on BBC One, with rave reviews. I had to make sure to avoid spoilers on Twitter.

Now, I want to give you a quick, spoiler-free recap of series one, which you can watch on Netflix; it’s only six episodes, each around one hour long.

Created and written by Sally Wainwright (the creator/writer of Last Tango in Halifax) and set in West Yorkshire, England, the series starts with a kidnapping that spirals out of control. Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood (Last Tango in Halifax star Sarah Lancashire) comes face-to-face with Tommy (James Norton, recently in War and Peace, Grantchester), a man who destroyed her family.

As Catherine is investigating the kidnapping of a local teen girl, she also learns that her daughter’s killer has been let out of prison and is back in town. Tommy is desperately seeking out Catherine because he’s discovered that he has a son. Catherine is struggling with the loss of her daughter, and her emotions run high when she finds out that Tommy is back. But a quick money scheme for the kidnapping doesn’t go according to plan for Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton, recently in Whitechapel).

As the episodes carry out, we see the interweaving of the characters and how they cross paths. In my opinion, Wainwright has penned one of the most stop breathtaking, jaw-dropping, and gut-wrenching dramas of 2015. It was one of my favorite new shows that aired last year—on either side of the pond.

Originally a standalone series, it was picked up for a second season, and a third has just been confirmed. From the start of episode one, beginning with a frantic chase, to the last episode, ending with another chase, you are in for a wild ride.

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Lancashire and Norton put on stellar performances from the start. This was James Norton’s breakthrough, and has now launched his career. Sarah Lancashire received a BAFTA nomination. You can feel the tension between Catherine and Tommy from the first moment they are on screen together.

valley-sisters

Also in the cast is Siobhan Finneran (as Clare Cartwright), best known to American audiences as Ms. O’Brian from Downton Abbey. Siobhan Finneran and Sarah Lancashire have worked together in the past, so their onscreen chemistry as sisters is natural. Because the acting is so well done, each episode carries the equally strong script along.

I don’t want to give away any other events from the show, but I will give two fun facts. First, the title of the show is a drug reference. And second, one of my favorite British actresses, Nicola Walker, auditioned for the lead role, and realized right away that she wasn’t right for the part—but that Sarah Lancashire was.

Only six episodes, with tight writing and amazing performances, will be an easy binge. I recommend bingeing it as soon as you can!

Happy Valley series 1 is available on Netflix; series 2 is available starting March 16.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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