This past week I binged through 20 episodes of Detectorists. My friend Leon recommended the series which is on the Acorn subscription channel, but I watched it on the free Hoopla service that works through local libraries. The first six episodes are also on YouTube.
It is a beautifully written and gentle show with characters that have real depth and humanity. There is a bit of farce in it too, but it really takes a close look at a group of English hobbits who take their metal detecting very, very seriously They are not metal detectors (that’s a device),; they are detectorists. It is also a study of male bonding and relationships in general.
This is not an action series. There are enough of those. Too many for my taste. The series first launched in 2014. I never would have seen it without a recommendation but it became a massive hit, winning three BAFTAs and a Rose d’Or Award.
Mackenzie Crook is the creator/writer/director and also one of the detectorists, This comedy series follows a group of detectorists but focuses on two of them who are sure they will strike gold in the fictional northern Essex town of Danebury. Andy and Lance are friends who share a passion for metal detecting. They act at times like a griping old married couple but they have a real bond and a common dream.
With their fellow detectorist club members, they encounter greed, betrayal and redemption, and negotiate other relationships with an ex-wife, girlfriend, daughter and outside detectorists.
I didn’t think I knew any of the actors but I always check IMDB for credits and it turns out I know a group of them, Mackenzie Crook (Andy) is known for being on the British original comedy, The Office. He was also in The Merchant of Venice, The Brothers Grimm, Finding Neverland and might be best known to Americans as Ragetti in the three Pirates of the Caribbean films.
I know Toby Jones (Lance) from the Hunger Games, Captain America: First Avenger, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I just saw him in The Pale Blue Eye.
Give the series a look. This is the first episode with Andy and Lance meeting a new member to their small club, a student named Sophie. Andy and Lance both take a liking to her, but they are still more interested in finding the Saxon gold they believe is on farmland owned by eccentric Larry Bishop, a man once suspected of killing his wife. The pair visit Larry, now a befuddled old man, but he does tell them of an archaeological dig halted by the outbreak of World War Two and allows them to search his land.