River – Netflix’s new BBC transplant is a sublime surprise

River – Netflix’s new BBC transplant is a sublime surprise

With Jessica Jones hitting Netflix on November 20th, I figured my binging hit its max, but then when surfing Netflix to look for a decent movie this long weekend, I came across River.  It was a surprise, not a series I’d even heard an inkling for, but as a manic fan of most BBC’s police procedurals, I decided I needed to check it out.

River stars Stellan Skarsgard which Marvel Studios fans will recognize as Dr. Erik Selvig from both Thor films and The Avengers.  On the surface, this series feels like so many others – emotionally troubled cop trying to solve a murder and struggling with personal demons along the way.

Rest easy, though, River is so much more than that.  The titular detective is completely mentally unstable, and the series embraces his fact mincing no words.  The cop’s main mental issues seem to stem from hearing the voices (and seeing the faces) of the dead, a fact that plagues him throughout the entire six episode first season and is handled with expertise.

In spite of this, the character of River comes across as immensely likable and approachable, a character you sympathize for and desperately want to see succeed.  One minute he’s screaming at thin air, the next minute he’s throwing chairs at some unseen assailant, but all the while you feel for him.  Skarsgard’s acting is impeccable, as is all of the surrounding cast.  The murder mystery is nicely crafted with a believable solution, and the last ten minutes of this first season were an emotional masterpiece.

Once again the BBC manages to craft a fantastic police story, and I’m thrilled that Netflix continues to port these over and give us all the chance to wallow in their greatness.  It’s been a terrific couple of weeks for Netflix, in my mind.

Check out River right here, and prepare yourself for the six episode binge.  It’s worth it.

River Netflix

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