Kate Winslet in “Mare of Easttown”... The whole thing’s got a real “True Detective” vibe about it.

On the beat with Kate Winslet and sitting down to a chaotic dinner on Friday, such is the week in columnist NICK OVERALL's streaming world... 

IN the compelling new crime drama “Mare of Easttown”, superstar Kate Winslet puts on a Pennsylvanian accent she said was so frustratingly difficult to learn it caused her to “throw things”. 

Nick Overall.

It was a challenge the actor herself insisted on perfecting, and it’s not the first time she’s put herself through the wringer to truly bring out a performance.

Take, for example, her ordeal filming the one from 1997 about the big boat and the iceberg (on Disney Plus).

On top of operating on about four hours of sleep a night, she chipped a bone in her elbow, but continued to swim in the tank of freezing water used to film James Cameron’s epic to the point she was legitimately concerned about drowning.

That’s some method acting, right there.

This commitment to her roles is undoubtedly part of what’s made Winslet a household name and why she’s been cast as the layered lead of HBO’s new detective series now streaming its first season on Binge.

That Pennsylvanian accent I speak of is put to use in the fictional locale of “Easttown”, where she, as the town's detective, tries to balance the investigation of a vicious crime with the woes of her own personal life.

While the crime in the show indeed looms large, “Mare of Easttown'' sets itself apart by reflecting a deeper than usual focus on its main character. 

The dangerous world she’s embroiled in brings the inner nooks of her own psychology to the forefront of the plot, and Winslet’s performance makes it work a charm.

The whole thing’s got a real “True Detective” vibe about it.

For those who don’t know, “True Detective” was another breakout crime drama from 2014 (also on Binge) that dived as deeply into the philosophy and psychology of its two lead characters, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, as it did the twists and turns of its crime plot.

It’s a common experience to hear from a “True Detective” fan that seasons two and three, which feature different characters and plot lines, were unable to reach the bar set so incredibly high by its first instalment of eight episodes. 

It’s a sentiment I agree with, but “Mare of Easttown” might just help scratch that itch. It’s one of the best offerings to come out of the genre in the last few years.

SINKING ships and small-town crime is all very doom and gloom, so let’s have a look at a lighter affair streaming on Stan called “Friday Night Dinner”, a British comedy about… well, what it says it’s about.

In each episode a dysfunctional, middle-class family attempts to enjoy a Friday evening meal together, but something always goes comically awry. The show works because there’s always something the real family watching the show can see in themselves, and hopefully laugh at.

“Friday Night Dinner” finished its six-season run last year, but it’s been in the news recently after the passing of star Paul Ritter, the actor who plays the show’s hilarious household father, Martin. 

Despite Ritter also being known for his roles in “Harry Potter” and 2019’s renowned “Chernobyl” mini-series, his death seems to have flown a little under the radar, perhaps due to the death of another slightly more famous British figure recently. 

However, a 10th anniversary reunion and documentary of “Friday Night Dinner” will be released this year and dedicated to Ritter, so if you haven’t given the show a go and want to, now’s definitely a good time.

As is often the case with great British comedy, the yanks can’t help but try to rip it off for their own version. So far they’ve had three cracks at “Friday Night Dinner”, and they’re more than likely still trying which is a true sign of the show’s influence.

It’s probably lucky that all have so far hit the proverbial iceberg.

 

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