Screens: ITV

What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Man? You'd Know If You Were Chasing Shadows

The Wheel of Murder makes a stop in London Town to pick up their latest prickly, misunderstood detective.

Ah, summer, when adventurous travelers seek new experiences among the world’s most beautiful landmarks. London! Tokyo! The blood-spattered tulip fields of Holland! The crapulent evidence lockers of Milan! Uh, what? Before you go, check with Al Lowe as she TV-travels the globe to investigate how murder gets done on an international scale.

The Show Chasing Shadows, an English procedural set in London. The series follows an on-the-spectrum detective who has been relegated to he Missing Persons Field Unit using his savant powers of organization or whatever to help people, even while remaining confused about being a person himself. Starring are perennial British That Gal Alex Kingston and, in the lead, comedian Reece Shearsmith (The League Of Gentlemen) as DS Sean Stone. You can find it streaming on Acorn.TV, which I know I appear to be shilling for, but I'm not. I just want you to have this five-dollar thing to keep you happy while slow-ass Netflix and Hulu mess about taking forever to add the things we want to see. (Not that I'm mad at Netflix for taking Magnum P.I. off streaming or anything. Y'all understand my pain.) Anyway, Acorn is showing episodes of Chasing Shadows week by week, so I am in the weird position of being only two eps in as I write this. Only four parts have been made so far, broadcast in 2014, and I cannot determine if it will be back, but I hope so. Anyway, let's watch it together.

2015-08-07-chasing-shadows02

The Formula I mean, look, yes...this thing is seriously formulaic. And it has gotten some snarky reviews in the British press accusing it of ripping off every known Sherlock Holmes adaptation, including Monk. It does! But, don't we sort of love that? Isn't that what Wheel devotees are all about? Damn, calm down, Daily Mail! We like crabby, emotionally disordered crime-solving protagonists a little bit, obviously -- it's like the #1 export of your country behind tea! (You can stop sending over Spotted Dick, by the way. Nobody appreciates it when I fall down laughing in the grocery store.) Anyway, DS Stone is right up the alley of the fanbase, and his Watson, Kingston's exasperated, motherly Ruth Hattersly, provides balance, as does her supercute ginger son. Rounding out the cast is Noel Clarke, as DCI Carl Pryor. Oh, you're not familiar with Clarke?

2015-08-07-chasing-shadows03

You're welcome. If you follow Elementary, you will perhaps be thrilled that this guy is something of an English Det. Bell.

"[Location] was like Another Character" Not especially, so far. Modern London doesn't get a lot of love here. The skies are gray, the coats are heavy, the towerblocks loom. As usz. The first two episodes do provide an interesting look at suburban detritus when the team is lead to an abandoned mall, but as things currently stand, England's green and pleasant land is nowhere to be seen, and if they weren't driving on the opposite side of the road, The City might as well be Grand Rapids.

Those Subtitles, Tho For once, no subtitles are needed either for foreign speech or mulligatawny accents and for that I am grateful. My brain needs a break, sometimes (frequently).

What's Best About It? I quite like the missing persons angle of this, rather than its being a show strictly about active investigations. They do some good coverage on how the victims go missing (ripping off Cold Case, this time but, still). Ruth is not a cop; her frazzled participation with Stone and Pryor is interesting, as is her backstory, which has only been teased in the first two episodes.

2015-08-07-chasing-shadows04

As charming as Shearsmith can be, if charming is really the word I'm looking for, I have always liked Alex Kingston and will sort of watch anything she's in (except Doctor Who, apparently. I'm sorry! I'm forty years behind and can't keep up with it!). Also, Stone has a lady (played by Myriam Acharki) -- I hesitate to call her a housekeeper, since it looks like she provides emotional support, as well -- who comes in and helps him with meals and laundry, and she is wryly delightful.

2015-08-07-chasing-shadows05

What's Worst About It? Well, as I mentioned, if you're someone who is tired of that old "misunderstood, socially awkward, fauxtistic, gumshoe with the matronly support system and unlikely friend on the force" schtick...what are you even doing here?

Whatever Shall I Serve? Gritting his teeth, poor DS Stone might painstakingly and contrary to his personal nature offer you a cup of tea, if he catches on that you're waiting for one, and I think you should take it...though he'll probably walk very swiftly away before you can take your first sip.

Discussion

Explore the forums or add a comment below.