Happy Valley: Where the only thing that's pretty is the thought of getting out
March 28, 2016 7:51 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The BBC One Six-Part Series can also be found on as "Netflix Original" in the US. The series follows the chaotic life of police sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) set in the Calder Valley as she investigates crime and deals with the fallout from a traumatic loss.
posted by CMcG (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
About all I remember about this was that it did the "ripped straight from the headlines" thing while the gutter press were all in a faff about cannabis psychosis. That lent the whole thing a slight Reefer Madness vibe that seemed all the sillier because the show was trying so hard to be deadly serious...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:13 PM on March 28, 2016


I didn't much like the first episode and would have stopped watching there, but then someone kept telling me how good the show is so I gave in and watched the rest of the season and ended up really liking it. It was slow to grow on me, but by about the third episode I was fully engaged by the characters.

I haven't watched the second season yet but I plan to.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:05 PM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just finished season two and oh do I love this show. Catherine Cawood is one of my favorite female characters that I have ever encountered. She is kind, smart, strong, but also headstrong, and utterly ferocious when she needs to be. She is flawed and troubled and well written and I love her so much and just want her and Ryan and Clare to be happy forever. She is an amazing, avenging Valkyrie goddess and I want her on my personal fantasy League of Extraordinary Women.

Also want to specifically call out the actor who plays Tommy Lee Royce, for being so, so good. There's such a sickening air of menace hanging over most of season one, in no small part because his acting is so terrifyingly good.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:57 AM on March 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


I love this show so much, on behalf of grandmas everywhere.

RYAN: Granny’s been in a fight.
CLARE: My God.
CATHERINE: Is it bad?
RYAN: She was chasing this scrote, and he kicked her in t’face.
CLARE (to CATHERINE): Did he get away?
RYAN: Hell, no.
posted by emilyw at 9:28 AM on March 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else have to watch it with the subtitles on? The accents themselves I mostly can understand but combined with slang I don't know (though can typically deduce from context) and police-specific jargon, we finally had to give in and turn the subtitles on.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:04 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was literally about to post a comment about Americans probably needing closed captions for this one. I am generally very good at accents, and this was unintelligible at times. No offense to folks who speak with this accent, of course, it's just very different from mine! I think there are a lot of elided letters (like "kicked her in t'face") that I'm not used to. I can't remember if it was this show or another British crime drama on Netflix that forced me down a "British Police Service" Wikipedia-hole, but it helps to know your Constable from your Chief Inspector.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:16 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really got sucked in by this show. The scene where Catherine rescues Ann from the cellar was one of the most tension-heavy bits of TV I've seen in a long while. The actresses playing both sisters were phenomenal.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:55 PM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was literally about to post a comment about Americans probably needing closed captions for this one.

I didn't have any trouble with the accents, which seemed clear enough and a welcome change from the normal BBC standard accent. (I've been enjoying how the UK shows I've seen recently, including Happy Valley, Line of Duty, and Hinterland, showcase different, and to my ear interesting, accents, along with a high standard of acting and writing.)

The biggest cultural divide with the UK police shows in general and this one more than most is in the culture of policing. There are so many situations that a US police show would simply solve with guns, but that isn't an option for the unarmed police in Happy Valley and it makes for much better TV.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:05 AM on March 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


The biggest cultural divide with the UK police shows in general and this one more than most is in the culture of policing. There are so many situations that a US police show would simply solve with guns, but that isn't an option for the unarmed police in Happy Valley and it makes for much better TV.

Even beyond the lack of firearms - there is the policy of "lone patrols" - You can get an idea of the arguments being banded around here - if offers patrol alone then they can cover a wider area for the same cost - and they may be seen as less menacing by members of the community. And that might be a more winning argument in more rural areas with lower crime - such as Halifax. So the scenes with the various officers patrolling by themselves, are not unrealistic.

But in terms of conveying a feeling of vulnerability and menace I think that having a female writer (Sally Wainwright in this case), really pays off. There are a thousand police/detective shows which feature threats and violence - not so many that depict it so realistically as this.

Viewers who are fans of Tommy Lee Royce's character might like to look out for James Norton in the 2018 BBC series McMafia.
posted by rongorongo at 1:28 AM on February 20, 2018


I'm an American living in Yorkshire, and I can assure you that the accents aren't much easier in person. I spent my first two years here in Devon, then the next eight in London. None of it prepared me for adjusting my ear to Yorkshire. It's a perfectly fine accent once you're used to it, but for someone who'd spent ten years listening to West Country and Estuary/Cockney, the vowels in this part of the country were all the wrong shape.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:29 AM on February 20, 2018


Just finished season 1, really really enjoyed it. Phenomenal acting all around, cannot wait to watch season 2. Will be looking for more to watch with Sarah Lancashire in it, she is just amazing.

Two payoffs I would have liked to have seen on screen: Nevison finding out that it was Kevin who set him up, and Catherine telling Anne about Tommy and what happened to her daughter, while the two of them were sitting on the bench having a smoke.
posted by the webmistress at 7:33 AM on May 25


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