Do you love a juicy soap opera that’s been tarted up into a “drama?”
I sure do. I am thinking of old favorites like Thirtysomething, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, and Sisters. Complicated love and family situations abound, but the writing is good, the actors are better than good, and you can immerse yourself in a world where interpersonal relationships are all that matters. The outside world is a vague backdrop. Being broke, or brokenhearted, makes a character more interesting, not actually miserable. Children, sometimes multiple generations of children, grow up OK despite their parents’ self-absorbed shenanigans.
If you like any of those shows, you’ll love Last Tango in Halifax, which may be a high water mark for the genre. I mean: do you know any other soap operas starring Derek Jacobi? (Also: Anne Reid! Sarah Lancashire! Nicola Walker!)
At the center of the story are two wrinklies in love, who have lost track of each other for 60 years due to a lost letter (remind you of a long-running Britcom?) but are reunited by the internet. They come from different worlds, blah blah blah, their grown-up kids are a mess, etc. etc., and as their two families combine, it’s one dysfunctional thing after another.
In other words, it’s delightful. A dark secret and a dash of magical realism add to the compelling-ness.
Three of the four seasons of Last Tango in Halifax are streaming on Netflix. (If you know of other sources, please shout them out in the comments.)