Top of The Lake – TV Review

Top of the Lake

Remember not long ago when all anyone could talk about was Broadchurch? Remember how it gripped you with its murder mystery? Remember how slow-moving the whole thing was? Remember how every character apart from the leads was a little bit empty and at worse silly? Well airing tonight on BBC One is a serial crime drama with all of the intrigue of Broadchurch but without any of the painfully slow bit and characters for characters.

Top of the Lake at its heart is about Tui, a missing and heavily pregnant 12-year-old girl, and Robin (Elisabeth Moss) the detective who returns to her home town to investigate and is forced to confront some dark events from her own childhood. That’s the basic plot but there is so much more depth to this series. Every character is struggling in some way and have their own diverse motivations and personalities. Set in a small town in New Zealand there is a real feel of this being an ensemble show. While Moss may play the lead no other character gets short shrift.

Elisabeth Moss - Top of the Lake

With a script from Oscar-winning Jane Campion and an international cast including Elisabeth Moss (who wows us in every episode of Mad Men), Peter Mullan (who terrified us all in Tyrannosaur), and Holly Hunter (unrecognisable as the head of a shipping container based women’s commune) Top of the Lake is an expertly written and brilliantly realised drama that does not rely solely on the central mystery to keep you coming back for more.

The show is halfway through its run on BBC One but I was sent the full series last week and devoured it as quickly as my social life allowed. This is the type of show that sucks you in and demands that you immerse yourself fully. Having been lucky enough to see the final episode let me assure you that it contains the shocking twist you will expect but is far more satisfying a conclusion than Broadchurch offered up. The show is dark, shocking, and a little bit brilliant.

Episode 4 of 6 airs tonight on BBC One at 9:10pm. If you are in need of catching up then the previous episodes are available on iTunes, BBC iPlayer, and the whole series is set for DVD and Blu-ray release on 19th August. And if you come back later in the week we’ll be giving away a copy.

What more can we possibly do to make you watch!?

EDIT: I forgot to mention the beautiful landscape. How could I do that to the beauty of New Zealand? Suffice it to say that the setting for the drama is stunning. Slightly more grey than we’ve seen in Lord of the Rings but we’re dealing with pregnant children here not hobbits.