Dark and Lovely

I have more Netflix recommendations! They are, of course, shows my in-laws wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. They are convinced I’m not happy unless I’m watching, reading, or listening to something that leaves a normal person sucking their thumb and rocking gently. Mostly untrue, I say! Let’s not forget that I am the person who once binge watched Melissa & Joey.

It’s possible that admission does nothing to refute the claim I only watch TV that makes a normal person sucking their thumb and rocking gently.

Well. If you’re looking for light and happy TV shows, go somewhere else. And I say that with a smile on my face!

3 Crimes Shows to Watch Now

The three Netflix shows I’m recommending today are crime shows, and they aren’t American crime shows so you will notice an absence of Super Hot Crime Fighters, Very Special After School Special mentions of race/sexuality, and Marty Stu’s/Mary Sue’s. Every show has several flawed characters with normal-sized lips capable of moving their foreheads. The recommendations are in order of crazy characters, least to most.

Haha! No. They’re are equally insane.


Luther was a recommendation from a reader who knows what I like. The Mister and I binge watched this show which, like most shows from the BBC, has only a few episodes per season. Idris Elba plays John Luther, an exceptional detective who understands twisted criminal minds because he is twisted and self destructive. Elba’s phenomenal acting rightly won him a Golden Globe Best Actor award, though I can’t complain about anyone on the show. Ruth Wilson as Alice Morgan is especially fantastic.


Never have I had such fond feelings for a sociopath. Oh, wait. Yes I have.


Sherlock is a show I heard about, but I thought it was similar to the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock, which didn’t interest me whatsoever. I finally caved because I was curious and bored and someone assured me it wasn’t quasi-Victorian Hollywood nonsense.

Benedict Cumberbatch is wonderful with his perfect complexion, watery blue eyes, wavy hair, and of course his deep voice. But there is something about Martin Freeman. I can’t explain it because he is the antithesis of my type. (Shoot me now for saying “my type” in a sentence without irony.) A couple of months ago I saw a meme on Instagram that described the feeling you get when you watch a show and a character immediately captures your attention. No one else exists when he or she is on screen. This is how I feel about Martin Freeman as John Watson. I don’t know if it’s his sweaters, his boyish haircut, his quick wit/dry humor, or his seemingly endless cache of facial expressions, but I want to send him a stuffed unicorn.


I was telling my friend Tiffany about this recent obsession with a petite blond male in sweaters, and I could tell she wasn’t picking up what I was laying down. Then I said, “It’s Martin Freeman, you know, the guy from The Hobbit.” And then she said, “Ooooh! I love him. There is just something about him.” I have the best, most understanding friends.


The last show I have to recommend is one we are binge watching right now, and is another recommendation from a reader. It’s Bron/Broen, or The Bridge in English. It’s a Scandinavian crime drama staring Sofia Helin, my favorite actress from Arn the Knight Templar (Gah!) another recommendation of mine. We’re almost done with season 2, which means we’ll have to wait for season 3 like starved animals.

This is the show the Mister was the least excited to watch because of the subtitles, but this is how he felt about Arn the Knight Templar, and that became one of his favorite movies. True to form, he loves, loves, loves The Bridge. I could tell you why you should watch this show, but Anna sums it up so perfectly that I’m just going to direct you to her post. Read it, and understand my obsession.

Basically, I watch what you tell me to watch because so far you haven’t let me down. In fact, you’ve introduced me to some of my favorite shows of all time.

So, what’s next?

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Gabbie says

    There is a typo where it says Morgan Freeman instead of Martin Freeman and the idea made me laugh I hard I almost couldn’t type this.

    More importantly you should check out Wallander, the newer ones with Kenneth Brannaugh, because Tom Hiddleston is blonde and absolutely adorable on it and every one is a damaged mess and The Fall with Gillian Anderson. And Broadchurch, if it’s on Netflix, David Tennet is the main character and solving the crime will consume your soul.

    • Shaina says

      I’m here to doubly recommend The Fall with Gillian Anderson. We binge watched that series and were shocked at the last episode. I won’t say why.

  2. says

    I’m the same way, but with books. My favorite writers are Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor.
    Whenever I tell my Mother-in-Law that I have a book recommendation, she always said, “Great, let me guess, a really depressing post-apocalyptic novel that ends with suicide or general collapse?”

  3. Lindsey says

    Oh man, 100% agree about Luther. Ruth Wilson is amazing! Have you seen her in the BBC Jane Eyre miniseries? Best version, hands down. It’s not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime (for shame!) so borrow it from your library or just bite the bullet and buy the DVD.

  4. says

    Thanks for the recommendations–have been wanting something new to procrastinate with. And I’ve binge-watched Hart of Dixie, so I can both join you in the TV-watching circle of shame and attest that it is possible to like frothy nonsense and dark intelligence. (Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.)

    I think you’d like Bletchley Circle. BBC period drama (post-WWII Britain) , smart women (did covert code-breaking work in the war). I’ve only watched the first “season” (which was only 3 episodes). A second one is available on Amazon Prime, but haven’t gotten to it.

  5. says

    {Sigh} Sherlock. {Sigh} I’m re-watching all 3 seasons right now. Can’t get enough of them (though I wasn’t a huge fan of season 3, but I’m willing to hold out and see what #4 will bring). I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I read the books back in grade school. I refused to see the Robert Downey, Jr. movie because I could tell from the previews that they ruined a character that I loved. However, interestingly enough, while “Sherlock” is my favorite, I’ve also gotten hooked on “Elementary” – which makes no sense since they made John Watson a GIRL (WHAT?!), but I’ve actually grown to like it.

    Not dark at ALL – but I’m a sucker for BBC mysteries, so I’ve recently been hooked on “Father Brown” and “Death in Paradise”. :)

  6. J.Lee says

    Sherlock is my favorite of the list. I watch Luther exclusively for Alice, though Idris Elba is dangerously handsome, I find his character frustrating. lol. Wallander is really good. I’m totally embarrassed to admit this but I sometimes watch Rosemary & Thyme- super old-timey and tame but it reminds me of the Agatha Christie novels I was so hooked on in primary school. Also, if my kids wander into the room it’s not quite so shocking. Bonus.

    • Sarah says

      I like Rosemary and Thyme, too. It’s relaxing as far as murder mysteries go. The gardens are beautiful, and not as scary. Like Murder she Wrote but with gardens. Great for when I am stressed out and too wired for the juicy stuff. Its a guilty pleasure.

  7. Sarah says

    I agree!!!!! Alice scared me more than any villain on any of these shows!

    I also think you should watch Wallander. Also, Vera staring Brenda Blethyn. I love her. I find her voice hypnotic at times. There is only one season on Netflix, but the second season is on Hulu.

      • says

        Add a “me three” to Wallander. A little Tom Hiddleston doesn’t hurt either. Side note: it’s how Kenneth B. met, worked with, and eventually casted Tom H. in Thor and how 99% of American women fell for an Asgardian villain!

        The Swedish version is very good too, but has got those blasted subtitles.

  8. Rachel says

    Glad you liked Luther.

    I (reluctantly) watched Sherlock, and despite my unfathomable dislike for Cumberbatch, I enjoyed the series.

    If you’re willing to step back in time a few years, I’d recommend the Veronica Mars series. Not sure if it’s available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, but totally worth the effort.

    I binged on the first season of Orphan Black this weekend (Amazon Prime) and found it to be pretty darned good. Be forewarned that there’s a decent amount of sex scenes, but nothing explicitly graphic.

    Oh, and if you’ve got Netflix, check out their original series The Booth at the End. There’s 5 episodes a season (2 seasons out), and they’re less than a half hour each. It’s about a man that sits in a diner, and meets with people who want Faustian favours in exchange for small deeds. It’s interesting to debate whether or not there’s divine intervention, and which side of the good/evil division the players fall on.

    • Rachel says

      Oh! And if you want some poignant humour, I highly recommend Louie C.K.’s Louie. Overall, it’s a great series, but there are some awesome stand out episodes that completely resonated with me, despite having nothing in common with the character (“Duckling” episode, I’m talking about you!). Just know that there’s some incongruities (one episode he only has a brother, three episodes later he suddenly has three sisters…his mother is a haggardly bitch and then she’s a matronly angel), but take the series as a collection of stories that aren’t necessarily a cohesive narrative, and you’ll be fine. And I think it’s impressive that C.K. writes, directs, stars, and edits the show himself. Despite that, he is never afraid to paint his on-screen persona as a genuine human being (warts and all), and not some idealized version of himself. It’s off-beat, and sometimes offensive, but it’s never gratuitous.
      He deals a lot with the issues of raising his daughters in a divorced household when his job requires him to be on the road a lot, and honestly, I hope the real Louis C.K. is even a fraction of the good father in real life as he plays on the show.

  9. yj says

    have you been introduced to korean dramas? they fall on the opposite of dark mysterious crime thrillers, but I find them fun in twice a year binges.

    as a fun intro: my name is kim sam soon.
    recently: my love from the stars
    somewhat more edgy: City Hunter
    humorous: Coffee Prince

  10. says

    Three words. House. Of. Cards. And before you ask, I haven’t started Sherlock yet, but I love me some Martin Freeman. I wonder if I’m related;)

  11. says

    This came at the perfect time! I’m running out of things to binge watch and I still have 3 more weeks off my foot!! I’m going CRAZY. I think watching sociopathic characters on television might be just what the doctor ordered. :)

  12. says

    I have not watched Broen, but Luther and Sherlock are my absolute favorites. Sherlock is a genius show and Mr. Cumberpatch is superb. Season three of Luther was fabulous. I do not believe it is on Netflix yet.

  13. says

    Luther and Sherlock are awesome. I haven’t seen Broen yet, but now I’m putting it on my mental list. Whoever suggested The Bletchley Circle has a second vote from me, and if you haven’t watched Broadchurch, I highly recommend it. It stars David Tennant, and it’s a whodunnit stretched over an entire season. Well worth the watch.

  14. Mimi says

    Watched luther based on your suggestion, lovelocelove it! Netflix only has season 1 an 2. Aaahh I must see season 3.

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