When mediocrity stars in theatres, television can satiate the most discriminating, discerning viewer. Recently I watched three shows that resonated profoundly, leaving a luscious residue of memorable performances, extraordinary writing, staggering scenarios:
“The Politician’s Wife”: British miniseries (1995) starring Juliet Stevenson as a loyal but betrayed wife of Conservative Minister “Duncan Matlock” (Ian Bannen) with an “escort” (Minnie Driver). Never has “hell hath no fury” been so marvelously, acidically depicted. Won the British Television Award for Best Drama.
“Mrs. Wilson”: British miniseries (2018) with remarkable Ruth Wilson as Alison Wilson and Lain Glen as Alexander Wilson, writer and Secret Intelligence Service agent during WWII; commencing with his death in 1963, viewers are taken on a shocking, “honest to god” real route of electrifying, unbelievable duplicity; Mrs. Wilson’s journey and its closure leaves one flabbergasted.
“Made in Heaven”: Indian drama series (2019); huge applause owed to writers Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar and Alankrita Shrivastava for this masterful, fearless approach to contemporary Indian life, style, mores, versus centuries of traditions; actors Arjun Mathur “Karan” and Sobhita Dhulipala, “Tara” are wedding planners; Karan is gay (homosexuality illegal until 2018 in India) and Tara, a girl from the wrong “caste”, magnificently beautiful and married to elitist “Adil” (Jim Sarbh); as they conceive the weddings of the favored few they become immersed in their familial and complicated situations. Weddings in India (many still arranged) are staged productions (comparable to the one in “Crazy Rich Asians”), and may last for days. The writers creatively weave Tara’s and Karen’s issues into the narrative of those they fleetingly, but powerfully interact with. Anxiously awaiting Season Two.