Happy Valley – BBCtv

Happy Valley - BBC tv

Happy Valley – BBC tv

I don’t know why they do this.

Or maybe I do …

If you’re looking for a gripping drama with strong women, an excellent cast who would win awards anywhere if there was justice, and a totally absorbing, challenging story, look at Happy Valley before it’s homogenised, pasteurised, condensed and vitiated, cast with gorgeous, pouting and vaporous imdb mediocrities into a version suitable for subscription, cable TV.

This is a totally absorbing crime drama, or rather a drama about a crime, which engulfs and destroys all too ordinary characters and superficially mundane family dynamics.

I don’t know why US telly feels compelled to reproduce successful foreign TV series rather than just broadcast them. Maybe it’s the accent/dialect. But tell me how a British TV viewer is any more able to decipher Lousiana vernacular (True Detective) than a US viewer is able to cope with Geordie.

Alright. Geordie is a difficult example. I find it challenging. But there are subtitles, right? All those Scandi-dramas made it on to British TV top ten lists with sub-titles only, didn’t they?

Martin Freeman. Accent? Did it matter?

Martin Freeman. Accent? Did it matter?

Yet elsewhere, English speakers have to cope with dialects such as, for example, Upper Midwest American English and its rhotic – Scandinavian – complications (Fargo). I don’t think many subtleties would have actually been missed by viewers outside of the US. Do you?

So why did Broadchurch have to become Gracepoint?

I understand that producing a version for the US market unleashes huge financial resources. But when did spending more money on an artistic/dramatic project actually make it better?

Okay, so the original demands that the audience invest a little commitment. What’s wrong with that? It used to be called suspension of disbelief. That means you could go to a theatre, watch a production of Hamlet on an empty stage and come away feeling you’d been emotionally punched in the guts and swear you’d seen those battlements, not just led by the hand through the difficult bits.

Back to basics.

Watch Happy Valley before it’s HBOed. It’s available on Netflix.

Watch it.

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2 Responses to Happy Valley – BBCtv

  1. That British Bloke says:

    PS: Just read an un-attributed comment in an NYT article that 32% of US TV viewers change channel if one of the major protagonists in a show speaks with a British, Irish or Australian accent. Maybe that’s why it happens

  2. That British Bloke says:

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