Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thanks Netflix! - Luther

I think the first time I was aware of the BBC program Luther was when I saw an ad in something I was reading.  And the first thing I thought was "oh snap; it's Stringer Bell!"

Of course at the time I didn't have cable or a television, so I didn't get a shot to watch it.

But now that I've got a television and while I don't have cable, I am doing the whole Netflix free trial thing and Luther is available on the Instant Queue.

Six hours later, here are my thoughts.

Now for the first few episodes of Luther seems like your standard cop show, just with a British accent.  John Luther is a cop who plays his own rules.  Naturally it gets him in trouble and by the time we meet him he's on a short leash.

Y'see a suspect that Luther was after ended up in a coma, which resulted in Luther's suspension.  During his suspension he separated from his wife and now he's trying to get his life back in order.

When we met him he's trying to do two things; get back on force and mend things with his wife.  He accomplishes fifty percent of his goals.

At times Luther feels like a tad trite.   You can count of cliches, it's practically a tropefest.  Relationship problems, check. Anger management issues, check.  Higher up gunning for his badge, check.  Smartest cop in the building, check. Insane high profile cases frequently occur, check.

But other parts of the show feel inspired.  Luther's relationship with Alice Morgan is refreshing.  And the way things shift in fifth episode leading to a completely inverted status quo by the series end is truly rewarding.

As Luther, Idris Elba is in a constant state of conflict.  He's rarely at peace, but Elba never make it feel over the top or forced.   Ruth Wilson's Alice Morgan is one of the most creepy and unnervingly cool characters to appear in a police procedural.  Steven Mackintosh is equally impressive as Luther's loyal friend and fellow DCI Ian Reed.  And those are just the three standouts, as the entire cast does a stellar job.

I cannot stress enough how awesome it was to have the show go from what felt like paint by numbers to daring in the span of an episode.  Not that the show ever veered into the area of being unwatchable; it was always captivating.

Honestly if you've got the time, Luther is only six episode and by the end you'll be clamoring for the second series (which is supposed to be airing next month across the pond.)  And again, it's on Netflix Instant Queue so you really don't have an excuse not to give it a shot.

Plus it won an NAACP Image Award, and, you know they only nominate things that are great.

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