Here are three streaming shows we’ve devoured recently:
“Unforgotten” is a 2017 British police drama that starts with a great premise. Two homicide detectives are called to a construction site, where a skeleton has been unearthed with no clues apparent as to who the dead person is, when they were killed, how it was done, and who might have killed them. What makes the show work is watching the cops, led by DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan, doing real police work, interviewing possible suspects, digging up leads, and slowly unraveling the truth behind the cold case. Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are very good as the leads, and the story encompasses plenty of possibilities before wrapping everything up in the six episodes that make up season one. That’s all we’ve watched so far, but seasons two and three are waiting in our queue on Amazon Prime.
“Imposters,” a 2017 Bravo series about Maddie, a con artist who takes on different personas to seduce and marry men (and at least one woman), steal their money, then leave with no trace. She’s played by the versatile Inbar Lavi, who I’ve never seen in anything else, but reminds me of Tatiana Maslany and the multiple characters she played on “Orphan Black.” Maddie is supported by fellow con artists Max (Brian Benben, from HBO’s 1990s show “Dream On”) and Sally (Katharine LaNasa), all of whom take direction from The Doctor, a mysterious figure who gives them the information required to complete their scams. The drama (and comedy) comes from three of Maddie’s former marks, who team up to track her down and try to get revenge, and an FBI agent who pretends to be her newest target. “Imposters” ran 20 episodes over two seasons, both of which are streaming on Netflix.
Martha and I were big fans of the first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and enjoyed the second one, but a little less. Now we’ve watched the third season and I’ve finally identified the problem with the series. The plot lines involving Midge Maisel, her manager Susie, and the rest of her professional career as a standup comic are the highlights, with Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein shining in those lead roles. I can also put up with the side story of Midge’s ex, Joel, and his attempts to open a nightclub in New York’s Chinatown. However, the subplots involving Midge’s parents (Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle) and Joel’s parents (Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron) have gotten too loud and distracting. It’s a shame because all four of those actors are capable of nuanced performances, but showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino has pushed them over the cliff into the broadest comedic clichés over bits of business that should have stayed small. If we’d recorded these episodes on our DVR, I would have fast-forwarded through many of those scenes. Unfortunately, that’s not so easy to do on Amazon Prime, so we suffered through them to get back to the meat of the matter, Mrs. Maisel herself. I’m not ready to give up on the series yet, and look forward to season four, but I hope Sherman-Palladino recognizes where the spotlight should be shone more often. I wouldn’t mind a bit more Lenny Bruce, as well.