I don’t really know what to say about detectorists (lower case intentional), which I finished watching this morning. It’s not much of a binge, since there are only nineteen half-hour episodes.
Except to say that this is the sort of thing I want to watch at this stage of my life. Quietly amusing rather than uproariously funny; gently engaging rather than gut-wrenchingly dramatic. It is almost completely devoid of sitcom clichés. No handsome leads — Andy (Mackenzie Crook) looks exactly like a dastardly pirate (he actually was in one or more of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), and Lance (Toby Jones) looks like a garden gnome. And yet, you grow to like them so much that they become almost handsome. They’re bog-standard middle aged guys who lead mundane lives — but, crucially, they’re not losers. They’re everymen in whom hope springs eternal.
Be warned that absolutely nothing happens for most of the way. If there is any action or plot twist, it’s often intentionally parodic. There’s a car chase, for instance, and it’s so low key you won’t even remember it when the episode is over. There are hilariously boring club meetings. There are relationship difficulties (but very little in the way of tears and raised voices). There are beautiful countryside landscapes and a lovely theme song by Johnny Flynn. And yes, there is buried treasure, but it’s as hard to get to as detectorists is on your TV schedule. It’s truly one of the best kept secrets on TV.
This show isn’t science fiction… but the two characters are essentially time travelers (in a sense).
Thanks to Jim Harris for recommending this. And, good news — in late 2020, Mackenzie Crook was reported to be thinking about a revival. May it happen.