Welcome to our Netflix Pick of the Week. The idea is simple, I pick a show you (or I) probably haven’t heard of, watch a handful of episodes in one sitting and report back to you. There are some great, underrated shows on Netflix. There are also some miserable snoozefests. If we had a slogan for this recurring column it would be: “We Watch It So You Don’t Waste Your Time!” If we had a second slogan for this column it would be: “Brave. Brilliant. Bingeable. The Three B’s.”
My selection this week is a series called The Fall. There’s a “Netflix Original” logo on the show’s page, but don’t let that fool you. The Fall is a Netflix import – the show originally aired on RTÉ One in Ireland and in the United Kingdom on BBC Two.
The Fall was BBC’s Two’s biggest drama launch in a decade, though that means little to an American audience. The draw here is Gillian Anderson, a familiar name for American audiences, who is best known for her role as supernatural-debunker turned believer Dana Scully on The X-Files. While the man who played Anderson’s FBI counterpart went on to find steady work on a premium channel, she spent the last decade taking small roles in movies and television while focusing on theater. In returning to a lead role in The Fall, Anderson is back in her comfort zone and it shows.
Set in Northern Ireland, the crime drama follows the unnerving path of serial killer Paul Spector, who stalks and kills young, attractive professional women. The Mulder-less Anderson takes the lead role as Stella Gibson, a detective who is called in to clean up a botched search for the serial killer.
Seasons: One season, five episodes. The cast has signed on for a second season.
Why you should watch it: Mystic.
The pilot keeps you guessing and guessing and guessing and guessing until… you’re forced to power through at least the next episode to see what’s going on. If that sounds like a negative endorsement, it isn’t. The first two episodes comes off like a high-brow extension of the X-Files and other procedural dramas. Show the killer, see the crime, watch the authorities try to make the right call. Even though we know who the killer is, the beauty of The Fall is we’re still in awe of what’s about to happen.
This series is for you if: You watched the X-Files and wished Mulder did a lot less talking.
Final Verdict: The Fall comes off a bit light with some oddly placed humor for a drama that advertises and later delivers on its darkness. With only five episodes, this show is highly binge-worthy. Put the kids to bed early and turn out the lights.