Detectorists: a review

I just finished binge watching this quiet, funny British TV show and couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. It is available on Netflix; with 2 seasons, a total of 13 1/2hour episodes, the series flew by and came to a really fine conclusion. A recently announced 3rd season is in the works, and I am thrilled. I decided to check it out on the recommendation of Judge John Hodgman, a comedian whose podcast I follow.

This show is written and directed by Mackenzie Crook. He is best known for his role as Gareth in the U.K. version of The Office and for his wandering eye (literally) in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. He and Toby Jones star as a couple of buddies who share a passion for “treasure hunting” in the fields of rural England. This eccentric hobby is handled with kindness, humour and respect. It is quite moving at times; I found myself carried away with the characters’ enthusiasm. With little by way of introduction, this show drops the viewer into the fictional town of Danebury, North Essex. Here we follow Andy (Crook) and Lance (Jones) as they search for gold and navigate their relationships with significant others, rival detectorists and each other.

Detectorists is perhaps not as laugh out loud funny as other comedies I watch. However it didn’t take but a few episodes for these 2 vulnerable nerds to worm their way into my heart. This show might appeal to anyone who enjoys British comedies without laugh tracks. It would be specifically endearing to anyone who has a niche interest or an obsessive hobby. The running gags never get tired. The domestic situations ring true and are very relatable. There is conflict yet kindness and warmth in this gentle comedy. As an added bonus, season 1 episode 3 has a cameo by Johnny Flynn, the star of another Netflix show I recently blogged about, Lovesick. He performs the show’s theme song during open mic night at the local pub.

I was delighted to learn this show won a BAFTA award for best TV comedy writing. It is well deserved. The recently announced 3rd season is due toward the end of the year. This is 2 years after the 2nd season ended. I love that about British TV shows. They are not restricted to a time frame or an episode count. All in good time. If you are looking for a sweet British comedy with a reasonable number of episodes and a tidy conclusion, you may want to check out Detectorists. And if it leaves you wanting more, then you are in luck.

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