Having proven itself capable of delivering top-notch original series, Netflix’s goal in 2014 (or one of them, at least) is bringing audiences exclusive TV series from around the world, instead of just dropping a bunch of time and money on an Americanized remake that never matches the potential of its source material. The latest series scooped up by the streaming giant is the highly acclaimed BBC dramatic thriller Happy Valley, which will hit Netflix in its entirety on Wednesday, August 20.
As it goes with most critically lauded British dramas, Happy Valley has far less to do with happiness than tragedies and danger. In it, Sarah Lancashire plays Catherine Cawood, a police sergeant in the Yorkshire valleys who still hasn’t completely gotten over her daughter’s suicide. To make matters worse, she soon discovers that Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the man who she thinks was implicit in her daughter’s death, has just gotten out of prison and is back in town.
While she tries to track him down, he’s actually busy with the staged kidnapping of Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy), the daughter of successful businessman. Royce is working with local property developer and small-time criminal Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong) for the scheme, and they’re soon in over their heads when things take a dark turn for the worse. And there’s Catherine, caught up in all of it.
The first of Happy Valley’s six episodes aired on BBC One at the end of April, bringing in 7.6 million viewers, with its full-season average only slightly lower, at 7.2 million. The series has received compliments from almost everyone, and is expected to become a BAFTA award-winner in some capacity next February. There were, of course, those who complained that the show was too dark and graphic, but people like that are always going to exist. You know what’s just as dark? Real life, and the performances are nowhere near as good.
Check out the brief trailer below for Happy Valley’s first season.
Netflix has done an impressive job of acquiring exclusive rights to documentaries and films over the past few months, so I can’t wait to see the lineup of series they bring to the table. Maybe we can use Netflix as an example to TV networks out there that we don’t want remakes of international series. We just want the originals. Give us the originals!
Find all six Happy Valley episodes hitting Netflix on Wednesday, August 20.